It was a party time for Morroco in Ivory Coast in their final world cup qualifier match. The Ivorians needed to win the match but falls short.
Morocco scored twice within five minutes through Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia during the opening half to triumph 2-0 in the Ivory Coast, the host doesn’t have any answer to the tactics adopted by Morroco won Group C at ease.
Ivory Coast never really looked like recovering from the two first-half goals. Ivory Coast came second with eight points followed by Gabon with six and Mali with four.
Ivory Coast had the first chance at a packed 35,000-seat Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny but veteran Gervinho blazed over with only the goalkeeper to beat from inside the box.
It was to prove a costly miss for the home side, who had to win after beginning the match one point behind a Moroccan team coached by former Ivorian handler, Frenchman Herve Renard.
The first blow came when an intended cross from Dirar went over an Ivorian defender and a Moroccan attacker and slipped past goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo into the far corner.
Rattled Ivory Coast fell further behind as they failed to cut off a corner and Juventus defender Benatia struck a first-time shot into the net.
Belgian coach Marc Wilmots tried to revive the lacklustre Ivorians by introducing Ghislain Konan at half-time and Maxwel Cornet and veteran Salomon Kalou during the second half.
But Morocco comfortably contained the hosts in a match that threatened to boil over at times with Dirar and Crystal Palace flyer Wilfried Zaha wrestling each other to the ground.
The “Atlas Lions” are going back to the tournament for the first time since 1998 after finishing with 12 points, having not conceded a goal during the six-match group campaign.
TUNISIA VS LYBIA
Tunisia ONLY needed a point to book their place in Russia. They couldn’t break down neighbours Libya in Rades on the outskirts of Tunis and had to settle for a goalless draw which was just enough.
Tunisia was unbeaten althrough and collected 14 points to book their first World Cup appearance since 2006, DR Congo narrowly misses out with a point, they had 13, Libya four and Guinea three.
Tunisia dominated possession at the Stade Olympique, but unpredictable Libya defended resolutely, creating an increasingly tense atmosphere.
Had Tunisia lost, they would have ceded top place to DR Congo, who finished strongly to overcome Guinea 3-1 at the Stade des Martyrs.
DR CONGO VS GUINEA
Second place Democratic Republic of Congo scored twice in stoppage time to defeat Guinea 3-1 in Kinshasa, only one point separated them and Tunisia. Very unlucky.
SOUTH AFRICA VS SENEGAL
Senegal sealed a place in Russia Friday by winning 2-0 in South Africa and the other two African qualifiers, Nigeria and Egypt, secured slots last month.