Morocco beats title-holder Ivory Coast 1-0, moves to AFCON quarterfinals

ESPN – Ivory Coast failed to make it past the group stage in their defense of the African Nations Cup, crashing out without winning a game after Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Morocco.

The Elephants needed to beat Morocco in the last round of matches in Group C to make the quarterfinals but instead followed fellow giants Algeria out of the tournament.

Ivory Coast were outsmarted by Morocco coach Herve Renard, who guided the Ivorians to the title two years ago.

On 24 minutes, Renard’s side went close to taking the lead as a free kick from Faycal Fajr hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced away.

Wilfried Zaha and Salomon Kalou then both missed chances to give Ivory Coast the lead, and Morocco made the Elephants pay when they went ahead just after the hour mark.

Substitute Rachid Aliou scored Morocco’s goal with a curling long-range shot, confirming Ivory Coast’s elimination.

“It’s tough to go out like that in the first round. It’s hard to swallow,” Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie said.

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