Defending AFCON champions crash out at first hurdle

Ivory Coast exited the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon after a 1-0 defeat to Morocco at the Stade d'Oyem on Tuesday night.

  • Morocco 1 Cote d'Ivoire 0
  • Goalless at the break
  • Alioui scores in the 65th minute
  • Morocco advance to KO-stage

Match Summary

Morocco hit the bar while the Ivory Coast had two decent chances in what was otherwise a first-half lacking in goalmouth action.

The West-Africans had the better of the second half, but lost out to a moment of individual brilliance.

Full Report

Cote d'Ivoire, who had Morocco coach Herve Renard in charge when they won the 2015 AFCON, ended third in Group C with only two points, behind the DR Congo (seven points) and Morocco (six points).

The opening 20 minutes of the match saw neither team able to find much rhythm, the game lacking in quality and entertainment.

It was with the first real chance of the match that Morocco came within an inch of scoring after Faycal Fajr thudded a free kick into the crossbar on 24 minutes.

The Elephants had to wait until the 37th minute before they threatened the opposition goal – Salomon Kalou cut though the Atlas Lions' defence and played in Wilfried Zaha, but his side-footed shot was too close to Munir Mohamedi, who made a comfortable save.

Ivory Coast had another chance, three minutes before half time, when Wilfried Bony flicked Serge Aurier's cross towards Kalou at the back post, where from a very tight angle his header found the outside of the post.

Proceedings remained tight with little in the way of enterprising play after the restart, the first note-worthy action coming in the 59th minute when Mohamedi bravely grabbed the ball before Zaha could pounce from close range.

The breakthrough finally came midway through the second-half when forward Rachid Alioui's stunning effort lit up what had been a dull game – when he brilliantly curled the ball over goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo and into the top corner from 25-yards out.

While the Elephants enjoyed most of the ball possession in the final 20 minutes, they were never really able to threaten the north African side’s goal.

Instead it was Morocco who nearly grabbed a second goal when a blistering counter attack in the 81st minute ended with Hamza Mendyl firing into the side-netting.

Renard's men handled the closing moments of the encounter without any major issues as they booked their place in the last eight.

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