Morocco Outclass CIV To Seal World Cup Spot, Tunisia Through
13 November, 2017, 19:01 | Author: Valerie Burke
Morocco needed only a draw from their final Group C game to finish top of the standings in the African preliminaries, ahead of the Ivorians, who had to win to clinch a fourth successive World Cup finals appearance.
Morocco stunned Ivory Coast 2-0 to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, while Tunisia also booked their ticket to Russian Federation on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Tunisia 's goalless draw against Libya proved enough to seal their World Cup spot from Group A.
The 2004 African champions have now qualified for their fifth World Cup (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006).
The hosts poured men forward for most of the rest of the match, but Morocco generally looked in control of things at the back and held on comfortably, giving Herve Renard - the coach who ended Ivory Coast's Africa Cup of Nations drought in 2015 - a famous victory against his former team.
Nabil Dirar gave the visitors the lead 25 minutes in, cutting in from the right and seeing his left-footed cross go all the way in, raising serious questions over goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.
Serge Aurier had the best chance to score for Ivory Coast in the second half, but he skied his shot over the bar, and Morocco maintained their record of not conceding a single goal in the six games in CAF qualifying Group C.
Guinea's Ousmane Sidibe headed into his own net from a set piece after the hour mark, but the West Africans equalised 10 minutes later through Keita Karamokoba.
While the Elephants will be left to rue a first World Cup qualifying failure since 2002, Morocco can now look forward to heading to Russian Federation as North Africa's third representatives alongside Tunisia and Egypt.
The absence of Russell and Dinwiddie likely leaves reserves Isaiah Whitehead and Caris Levert to log starting point guard duties. The Nets are scheduled to return home Tuesday against the Boston Celtics and host the Golden State Warriors next Sunday.
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