Football

Tunisia, Morocco seal World Cup spots

North African nations Morocco and Tunisia took contrasting routes yesterday morning (Singapore time) to qualify for next year's World Cup.

Morocco scored twice within five minutes through Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia during the first half to triumph 2-0 against hosts Ivory Coast and win Group C.

The Atlas Lions have qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1998 after finishing with 12 points, having not conceded a goal during the six-match group campaign.

Ivory Coast, who never looked like recovering from the first-half blows, came second with eight points followed by Gabon with six and Mali with four.

Morocco coach Herve Renard revealed after the match that Moroccan King Mohammed VI had called to congratulate the team.

Tunisia, meanwhile, could not break down neighbours Libya in Rades on the outskirts of Tunis and had to settle for a 0-0 draw that was just enough to see them first over the finishing line and qualify for their first World Cup since 2006.

With second-placed Democratic Republic of Congo netting twice in stoppage time to defeat Guinea 3-1 in Kinshasa, only one point separated the top two. - AFP

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