Champions La Cote d’Ivoire have exited the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after losing 0-1 to Morocco on the final day of action in Group C.
It was the first loss for the side since losing 1-2 to Nigeria in the 2013 edition held in South Africa.
The Elephants had drawn their first two group games coming into Tuesday’s game but had to face a side managed by a man who knows the team too well.
Herve Renard, the Morocco coach, had guided the Elephants to the trophy in 2015.
The first half of the game at Stade d’Oyem ended goalless but not after the Atlas Lions rattled the woodwork with a superbly taken freekick by Faycal Rherras.
Exchanges in the second half saw the champions the more aggressive of the two as a draw would have still seen them out of the tournament.
With the Ivorians putting more players forward, Coach Renard appeared to have read the scripts so well as his substitution in Rachid Alioui paid off.
The France-based attacker curled the ball past TP Mazembe’s Sylvain Gbohouo in what became the only goal of the game.
Elsewhere in the group, DR Congo solidarised their stay at the top as they walloped Togo 3-1 at the Stade de Port-Gentil.
The Leopards will face the runner-up in Group D while Morocco await the winner of that group.
Final Group C Standing:
[league_table id=”39906″ title=”” number=”5″ columns=”p,w,d,l,gd,pts” show_team_logo=”0″ show_full_table_link=”0″ align=”none”]
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana