Benatia sends Morocco to World Cup

Morocco fans celebrate their succes

Tunisia secured the draw it needed, 0-0 at home against Libya, to qualify from Group A and edge out Congo.

Morocco have now qualified for their fifth World Cup (1970, 1986, 1994, 1998) and their first since France 1998. Goals from Nabil Dirar and Mehdi Benatia in the first half secured qualification for the Moroccans who won the group with 12 points.

Gabon and Mali who also belonged in the group had ended their match all square.

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

Tunisia could not break down neighbours Libya in Rades on the outskirts of Tunis and had to settle for a 0-0 draw that was just enough to see them first over the finishing line.

It was unspectacular, but it got the job done and ultimately progressed with a one-point buffer after a late flurry helped DR Congo beat Guinea 3-1 in the group's other match.

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Dirar gave his side the lead in the 25 minute when a cross-cum-shot from the Fenerbahçe winger eluded Ivory Coast keeper Sylvain Gbohouo.

Belgian coach Marc Wilmots tried to revive the lacklustre Ivorians by introducing Ghislain Konan at half-time and Maxwel Cornet and veteran Salomon Kalou during the second half.

Guinea's Ousmane Sidibe headed into his own net while defending a set piece after the hour mark, but the visitors were able to equalise 10 mintes later when Keita Karamokoba pounced on a loose ball and flicked it over DR Congo goalkeeper Ley Matampi.

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

The Congolese fought back in the dying minutes bagging two more goals, one of them a penalty.

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