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Morocco rout DR Congo to seal 6th World Cup appearance

Morocco booked their place at the 2022 Fifa World Cup thanks to a comprehensive 4-1 victory over DR Congo in the second leg of their playoff tie at the Stade Mohamed V on Tuesday night.

Azzedine Ounahi capped off a fine performance with a brace, while Tarik Tissoudali and Achraf Hakimi also got on the scoresheet for Vahid Halilhodzic’s side, who advanced 5-2 on aggregate.

Ben Malango’s 77th-minute goal was nothing but a consolation for the Leopards after they were second best on the night.

The Atlas Lions came into the home leg with a slender advantage after scoring an away goal on Friday and they were the dominant force in Casablanca.

The visitors had an early sight at goal though, when Dieumerci Amale hit a first-time shot from range with the outside of his boot that drifted beyond the left post in the second minute.

Joel Kiassumbua was the first goalkeeper to be tested, however, as Ayoub El Kaabi struck an effort straight at him from inside the box on 13 minutes after being played in by Tissoudali.

The North Africans hit the front on 21 minutes following a hashed clearance by Christian Luyindama, with Ounahi pouncing on the chance to curl a first-time shot into the top right corner of the net from 20 yards out.

There was a lengthy break in play after Yassine Bounou required stitches, having taken a blow to the head and the Morocco keeper had to be substituted in the 43rd minute following a collision with Chancel Mbemba.

The fourth official indicated 12 minutes of additional time at the end of the first half and after Munir El Kajoui made a routine save from Meschak Elia in the second minute, another mistake from Luyindama led to the hosts’ second goal in the seventh minute.

Luyindama misjudged an aerial ball and could only glance it into the path of Tissoudali, who advanced on goal before toe-poking through the legs of Kiassumbua from inside the box.

Tissoudali threatened again two minutes into the second half with a shot straight into the gloves of Kiassumbua after being teed up by El Kaabi and the Gent winger was denied by the Leopards gloveman on 50 minutes following good footwork to make his way into the box on the left.

The third goal wasn’t long in coming though, as Ounahi showed good composure to pick out the bottom right corner of the net from eight yards out after being set up by Tissoudali.

There were opportunities for Hector Cuper’s charges too, with Yoane Wissa directing a header wide of the right post from close range on 57 minutes after getting on the end of Elia’s cross, while Gael Kakuta curled a 62nd-minute free-kick into the arms of El Kajoui from 25 yards out.

The woodwork came to the DRC’s rescue six minutes later when El Kaabi struck the base of the left post from an angle on the right before latching onto the rebound himself and firing over.

It was 4-0 on 69 minutes as Hakami slotted home on the rebound after Kiassumbua could only parry El Kaabi’s strike from range into his path.

DRC managed to pull one back out of nowhere in the 77th minute when substitute Malango made an immediate impact with an exquisite volley on the turn from inside the D.

Ounahi almost completed his hat-trick in stoppage time with a strike from outside the box that Kiassumbua pushed up into the air and onto the roof of the net.

At Qatar later this year, Morocco will be making their 6th World Cup outing after previously featuring in the 1970, 1986, 1994, 1998 and 2018 editions.



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