Goals from defenders Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia handed Morocco a 2-0 away win over the Ivory Coast on Saturday (November 11) in their last World Cup qualifier and booked a return to the finals for the first time in two decades.
Morocco needed only a draw in their last group game to finish top of the Group C standings in the African preliminaries, ahead of the Ivorians, who had to win to clinch a fourth successive World Cup finals appearance.
But after weathering an early storm, including a potential penalty call, Morocco scored two goals in the space of five minutes to put themselves on their way to the finals, in which they last appeared in 1998, in France.
In another match, Tunisia also qualified for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia after they finished top of Group A in the African preliminaries following a goalless draw at home with Libya on Saturday. It will be their fourth appearance at the finals but first since 2006 in Germany.
Senegal qualified for next year’s World Cup in Russia with a 2-0 away win over South Africa on Friday that gave them an unassailable lead at the top of Group D.