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Morocco Defeat Holders Ivory Coast 1-0 And advance To AFCON Quarter Finals

OYEM, Gabon
Rachid Alioui scored a spectacular winner for Morocco to defeat holders Ivory Coast 1-0 and advance to the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup finals at the expense of the defending champions on Tuesday. French-born Alioui netted from 35 metres to take coach Herve Renard's side into the knockout stages and end the hopes of the country the latter led to the continental title two years ago in Equatorial Guinea. Morocco finished runners-up in Group C with six points, one behind pool winners the Democratic Republic of Congo. The fancied Ivorians, who managed just two goals and two points in their three matches in Gabon, had to settle for third.


Ivory Coast joined two other high-profile first-round casualties already knocked out of the tournament, Algeria and hosts Gabon.


Ivory Coast star player Salomon Kalou on the same day also announced that he had retired from international football . Hertha Berlin striker Kalou, 31, confirmed after the match that it would be his last for his country.

"I have played in one final and I have won another. This time, it didn't go so well," the former Chelsea player said. 


"There are youngsters like [Franck] Kessie, [Wilfried] Zaha... I think they're the future of Ivorian football. I wish them good luck."
Kalou, named man of the match for his performance, made his international debut in 2007 and won a total of 89 caps. That will be either Ghana or Egypt, who clash on Wednesday in Port Gentil for top spot, with the former needing just a draw to secure the pool win.

Ivory Coast player Eric Bailly will also return to Old Trafford this week following Ivory Coast’s early exit at the Africa Cup of Nations.

 

 

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