Morocco book World Cup place first time in two decades

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Morocco on Saturday booked a return to the World Cup finals for the first time in two decades after securing a vital win over Cote d’Ivoire in their last World Cup qualifier.
Goals from defenders Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia handed Morocco a 2-0 away win in Abidjan.
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.
Morocco completed the campaign without conceding a goal, finishing on 12 points, four ahead of the Ivorians. Gabon had seven and bottom-placed Mali five.

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