Benatia sends Morocco to World Cup

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Benatia sends Morocco to World Cup

Morocco have qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1998 after they beat Ivory Coast 2-0 to knock their opponents out.

Goals from Nabil Dirar and Mehdi Benatia in the first half secured qualification for the Moroccans who won the group with 12 points.

Morocco and Tunisia have joined Nigeria, Egypt, and Senegal as the African teams who will be playing in the World Cup this summer.

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 Russian Federation.

For the record, the Atlas Lions team now managed by Hervé Renard, was qualified in the past to the World Cup in 1970, 1986, 1994, 1998.

That result eliminated the Ivorians from the tournament in Russian Federation in 2018, while Tunisia also qualified at the expense of DR Congo.

Ivory Coast, meanwhile, failed to qualify for the quadrennial tournament after making it to the competition's finals for three times in a row in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

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.

Morocco was topping its group before flying to Ivory Coast.

And five minutes later Gbohouo was at fault again as he started to come for Mbark Boussoufa's corner into the box but then backtracked, allowing Medhi Benatia to volley home and double the lead.

Tunisia survived some nervous moments in Rades as Libya finished strongly.

After weathering an early storm, including a potential penalty call, Morocco scored two goals in the space of five minutes.

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