AFCON: Morocco Knock Out Defending Champion, Ivory Coast

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Morocco have knocked out defending champions, Ivory Coast 1-0 to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Rachid Alioui scored with a terrific shot from 25 yards to earn the win for Morocco and their coach Herve Renard, who led the Ivorians to the 2015 title.

Ivory Coast needed a win to go through but gave a listless performance, creating only two chances of note.

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 go home after appearing not to put up a fight.

Even after going behind they were unable to cause the organised and disciplined Morocco defence any problems.

Morocco went into the game knowing that a draw was very likely to be enough for them 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 on a shocking pitch and failed to find any penetration.

Morocco could have added a second 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.

DR Congo are also through from Group C, finishing top of the table after beating Togo 3-1.

•Sport writer/blogger • Media strategist •Good citizen of Nigeria and Social Media Evangelist and a core die hard Real Madrid fan.

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