Morocco, Tunisia complete African teams to World Cup
Morocco qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a 2-0 victory away to Ivory Coast, who missed out on a fourth consecutive appearance at the finals.
The Moroccans joined Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal and Tunisia who had qualified earlier on.
In Abidjan, goals from defenders Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia in Abidjan ensured that Morocco would finish as Group C winners.
Morocco needed only a draw in their last group game to finish top of the standings ahead of the Ivorians, who had to win to clinch a place in Russia but it turned out a day the West Africans played one of their worst football in the last decade.
After weathering an early storm, including a potential penalty call, Morocco scored two goals in the space of five minutes.
Dirar opened the scoring off a cross-turned-shot on 25 minutes and Benatia doubled the lead after a corner on the half-hour.
It is another achievement for Morocco’s French coach Herve Renard, who famously won the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast in 2015.
Morocco, who completed their qualifying campaign with maximum points and no goals conceded, last appeared in a World Cup in 1998 in France.
They topped the group on 12 points, four above the Ivorians. Gabon, who earlier drew 0-0 with Mali in Franceville, finished with seven and bottom-placed Mali five.
On Friday, Senegal qualified after defeating South Africa 2-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. The game was a replay between the two countries after their first meeting which South Africa won 2-1 on November 12, 2016 was cancelled after the referee was found to have been compromised.
Two first half goals from West Ham United’s Diafra Sakho and an own goal from Thamsanqa Mkhize secured Senegal’s second World Cup qualification, their first since Korea/Japan 2002.