Sports / Updates
Wednesday, 25 Jan 2017 11:32 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
Morocco beat Ivory Coast 1-0 to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals and knock out the champions. 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 unleashed weak shot 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. The Atlas lions will now 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 thrashing Togo 3-1
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.