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Morocco whip Ivory Coast to qualify for WCup

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Morocco’s midfielder Rachid Alioui (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group C football match between Morocco and Ivory Coast in Oyem on January 24, 2017

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Nov 11 – Morocco scored twice in five minutes during the first half to defeat the Ivory Coast 2-0 Saturday and qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Nabil Dirar opened the scoring off a cross-cum-shot on 25 minutes in Abidjan and Medhi Benatia doubled the lead after a corner on the half-hour.

Morocco, whose last World Cup appearance was in 1998, won Group C with 12 points followed by the Ivory Coast with eight, Gabon six and Mali four.

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 mini-league campaign.

Ivory Coast, who never looked like recovering from the first-half blows, came second with eight points followed by Gabon with six and Mali with four.

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