Morocco, Tunisia qualify for Russian Federation 2018 World Cup
12 November, 2017, 02:10 | Author: Joan Malone
Tunisia booked their place in next year's World Cup finals after securing a point from a goalless draw at home to neighbours Libya on Saturday.
When captain Medhi Benatia swept home a corner just five minutes later, Ivory Coast were left facing a first missed finals since 2002.
Morocco qualified for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.
The Ivorians continued to pressurise the visitors with 10 minutes to play but they lacked the sense of urgency for a team that needed three goals in the remaining minutes to qualify.
Unbeaten Tunisia have been to four previous World Cup finals and were the first African country to win a game at the finals, in 1978. Before today's matches, Morocco had 9 points while the Ivorians had 8 points; meaning the victor of the match would qualify. But it was the Moroccans who got the breakthrough when Nabil Dirar's cross evaded everyone and found its way it to the net.
Full back Serge Aurier had the Ivory Coast's best chance shortly after the hour mark when he blazed over in acres of space before Noureddine Amrabat nearly killed the game on the break but a further cushion wasn't needed.
Tunisia, meanwhile, progressed as winners of Group A despite not being able to end their campaign with victory over Libya, who finished bottom.
Ibenge's side will look back at their double header against the Tunisians, when they enjoyed the better of both contests but only took one point out of a possible six, as the reason why they will be watching on from the outside next summer.
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