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Morocco book World Cup place for first time in two decades

13 November 2017

Tunisia finished with 14 points in Group A of the African preliminaries, one ahead of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who fell short despite a 3-1 win over Guinea in Kinshasa.

Morocco defeated Ivory Coast in Abijan on Saturday to book their place in next year's World Cup in Russian Federation.

The two goals were scored in the first half through Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia.

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The qualification, which came 19 years since Morocco played its last World Cup in 1998 in France, has enabled the Atlas Lions to retrieve their lost aura and respectability in Africa.

African champions Cameroon also secured a 2-2 draw away to Zambia in their inconsequential final Group B World Cup qualifier in Ndola thanks to a late goal from defender Yaya Banana. Unlike Morocco, who missed out on four previous World Cup tournaments (Japan-Korea 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014), Cote d'Ivoire has qualified for the three previous World Cups.

Morocco's victory over the West African giants means three countries from North Africa made it to Russian Federation with Egypt and Tunisia having qualified already.

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Guinea's Ousmane Sidibe headed into his own net while defending a set piece after the hour mark, but the visitors were able to equalise 10 minutes later when Keita Karamokoba pounced on a loose ball and flicked it over DR Congo goalkeeper Ley Matampi.

Morocco's win in Abidjan gave coach Herve Renard success over his former team and the country he led to the African Cup title in 2015.

Patson Daka put Zambia in front in the 26th minute but Andre Zambo Anguissa equalised from outside the box five minutes later.

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Morocco book World Cup place for first time in two decades