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IVORY COAST 0-2 MOROCCO

Ivory Coast-Morocco live online: as it happened, goals, match-report

Two first-half goals from Benatia and Dirar were enough to kill-off any opposition from a highly disappointing Ivory Coast
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Update:
Moroccan football fans hold up national flags during the 2012 African Cup of Nations football match between Morocco and Algeria in Marrakesh on June 4, 2011. Morocco won 4-0. AFP PHOTO/ABDELHAK SENNA (Photo credit should read ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Imag
AFPAFP/Getty Images

The Lions of the Atlas are on their way to Russia 2018 as Herve Renard's side produced a highly disciplined performance in Abidjan against a lack-lustre Ivory Coast who lacked ideas, a clear game-plan and the hunger to combat their rivals.

Two early first half goals from Benatia and Dirar meaning that Marc Wilmot's side needed three goals with no reply on the night provoked the home side to look for a miracle.

A sad end to a generation which will potentially see an end to the international career of the likes of long servants Gervinho, Kalou and Toure and a performance that will almost certainly condemn Wilmot's future as Ivory Coast head coach.

Ivory Coast's national team player Salomon Kalou speaks to journalists prior to a training session on November 7,
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Ivory Coast's national team player Salomon Kalou speaks to journalists prior to a training session on November 7,ISSOUF SANOGOAFP

Morocco stake a place at their first World Cup since participating in France 1998. and will be no  pushover with the likes of Real Madrid's Achraf, Fajr and Ziyech coupled with the guidance of shrewd journey-man coach Renard troubling many's a side at Russia 2018. 

Ivory Coast vs Morocco: as it happened

Ivory Coast vs Morocco live online: match preview

Moroccan coach Herve Renard has been busy this week plotting the downfall of the Ivory Coast, who he guided to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations title.

Morocco are seeking a first World Cup appearance since 1998 while the Ivory Coast qualified for the last three tournaments in Germany, South Africa and Brazil.

"I believe the most solid and best organised team will go to Russia," said Renard, "and I hope that team is Morocco."

Belgian Marc Wilmots has struggled since being hired last year to coach the Ivorians, with a shock home loss to Gabon a major World Cup setback.

Ivory Coast

Confidence is somewhat muted among Ivory Coast fans with consternation about the negative tactics employed by the new Belgian coach with September's shock home defeat to Gabon plunging the Elephants into the qualifying dilemma they find themselves going into the final match.

The seven games in charge have produced: two wins, drawn two and lost four with 13 goals conceded.

Selection problems also pose another headache for Wilmots without without the influential trio of Eric Bailly (suspended), Jean Seri and Wilfried Bony (both injured) although the Belgian will be able to call on Max Gradel and Zaha.

The latter, in particular, could prove to be a key figure - particularly considering that both Gervinho and Jonathan Kodjia are only finding their way back to fitness.

Wilmots refused to see the match as a personal showdown between him and Renard: "I have never seen a coach score a goal," he told reporters.

Morocco

Anything but defeat to The Elephants will do and see Morocco seal their ticket for Russia 2018 and there is no doubt that Herve Renard would be happy with the result of the first Group C game when both sides tied 0-0 in a tense affair at a packed Stade de Marrakesh exactly a year ago..

Speaking to the Guardian earlier this week former Moroccan international and Premier League star Mustapha Hadji talked about the national team being on the cusp of World Cup qualification for almost 20 years claiming: “After Islam, football is our second religion,” he says. “Morocco loves the game and is a real football country. It would be the first time we have qualified since the king came to the throne so we will try to do it for him as well. It would be the biggest gift we can give if we make it. The Moroccan people have been waiting for this for a long time – rich people, poor people, the guy on top of a mountain with his sheep.”

Renard and the Morocco squad arrived on a Rabat-Abijan flight to be greeted by 500 fans with another 4.000 expected to cheer the Atlas Lions on at the Felix Houphelet Boiugny stadium.

Five LaLiga and LaLiga 1|2|3 players from part of the travelling party {(Munir (Numancia), Bounou (Girona), Fajr (Getafe), Amrabat (Leganes)} with much focus on Real Madrid's Achraf.

Ivory Coast vs Morocco live online: selected betting odds

An interesting, and handsome price is the 50/1 currently on offer for the home side leading at the interval with a comeback from the Lions of the Atlas to secure the win at the full-time whistle.

Bet on Ivory Coast vs Morocco

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