Defending champions Ivory Coast crash out of 2017 AFCON

Posted by News Express | 25 January 2017 | 3,057 times

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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. (Victor Okoye/NAN)

•Photo shows Moroccan ace Rachid Alioui whose goal ended Ivory Coast’s title defence . . . Tuesday in Gabon.

Source: News Express

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