Benatia sends Morocco to World Cup

12 November, 2017, 01:11 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • Tunisia, Morocco, reach Russia 2018

A historic World Cup group-stage qualification campaign saw Morocco, who last appeared in the World Cup in 1998, score a total of 11 goals while conceding nothing to finish on top of the group with 12 points.

Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt had previously sealed their spots in Russian Federation next year.

Tunisia guaranteed top spot in World Cup qualifying Group A and secured their ticket to Russian Federation despite being held 0-0 at home by Libya on Saturday.

Group A leaders Tunisia welcomed Libya to Rades, a short distance from capital Tunis, knowing a loss could see them miss out if second-placed DR Congo beat Guinea elsewhere.

Morocco sealed its place by winning in Ivory Coast 2-0 in what was a straight shootout for the place from Group C. Before today's matches, Morocco had 9 points while the Ivorians had 8 points; meaning the victor of the match would qualify.

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For Morocco, Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia scored in the space of five minutes in the first half in Abidjan to help send the Moroccans to their first World Cup in 20 years and deny Ivory Coast a fourth straight appearance.

Morocco was topping its group before flying to Ivory Coast. Scoring two goals, Morocco has secured a ticket to Russian Federation.

Dirar opened the scoring off a cross-turned-shot on 25 minutes and Benatia doubled the lead after a corner on the half-hour.

Tunisia dominated the first half without finding the breakthrough to ease their nerves and their anxiety would have increased with the news an Ousmane Sidibe own goal had put DR Congo ahead in Kinshasa.

DR Congo defeated Guinea 3-1 but that did not matter as Tunisia had secured a point.

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