Tuesday, January 24, 2017 11:01 pm
Defending champions, Ivory Coast on Tuesday crashed out of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon, after losing their last Group C game by a lone goal to Morocco.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Morocco beat Ivory Coast 1-0 to reach the AFCON quarter-finals and knock out the champions.
Rachid Alioui scored with a terrific shot from 24 yards to earn the win for Morocco and their coach Herve Renard, who led the Ivorians to the 2014 title.
Ivory Coast needed a win to go through but gave a listless performance, creating only two notable chances.
Wilfried Zaha shot weakly from 12 yards, while Salomon Kalou’s header from a tight angle clipped a post.
The Elephants lacked urgency in their play and will now go home after appearing not to put up a fight.
Even after going behind, they were unable to cause the organised and disciplined Moroccan defence any problems.
Morocco went into the game knowing that a draw was very likely to be enough to qualify from Group C and their game plan from the start was to stay compact and hit on the counter-attack.
It served to frustrate their opponents, who opted for the long-ball approach but failed to find any penetration.
Morocco could have added a second goal on the counter-attack but 19-year-old full-back Hamza Mendyl shot into the side netting after running half the length of the pitch.
They will play the winner of Group D in the last eight on Sunday.
NAN also reports that DR Congo reached the AFCON last eight as Group C winners with a victory that eliminated Togo.
Tournament top scorer Junior Kabananga converted Chancel Mbemba’s pass for the opener, his third goal in three games.
Kabananga hit the post with a flicked header before Ndombe Mubele doubled the lead after the break, looping the ball over the keeper amid static defending.
Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba’s tidy finish gave Togo hope, but Paul-Jose M’Poku’s free-kick secured a deserved DR Congo win.
DR Congo will go on to play the Group D runners-up in the quarter-finals, which will be either Mali, Ghana or Egypt.