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Morocco cruise to comfortable victory over DR Congo for second straight World Cup qualification

The Atlas Lions of Morocco showed their class on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo to book their ticket to Qatar 2022 by a 5-2 aggregate score. Azzedine Ounahi scored twice with Tarik Tissoudali and Achraf Hakimi each tallying as well to give the hosts a comfortable lead as the Leopards unraveled in front of a passionate home crowd in Casablanca. It will be the second straight appearance for Morocco at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where they will hope to improve on a group stage exit in 2018.

Despite the score, the match was a relatively even affair for long stretches but the hosts showed their class with clinical finishing in the final third when it mattered most. After a couple of threatening attacks early on, the Atlas Lions struck first in the 22nd minute. Following a ball into the box, DR Congo’s Christian Luyindama could only clear out just beyond his penalty area where Ounahi applied a cleanly struck shot from 23 yards out past a diving Joël Kiassumbua to send the crowd into celebration.

The match had a long break that disrupted the match rhythm around the 30th minute when Morocco keeper Yassine Bounou suffered a couple of nasty head collisions that forced the Sevilla shot stopper off the pitch. With a twelve minute stretch of stoppage time at the end of the first half, Morocco took advantage of a loss of focus from the Leopards to double their lead when a long header looped over Luyindama to allow Tissoudali in behind to poke his finish between the legs of Kiassumbua.

DR Congo attempted to increase the numbers going forward but while they were more threatening, the tactical switch exposed them to counter attacks from the opportunistic hosts. The 55th minute saw Morocco put the tie out of reach when Tissoudali found space on the left wing and passed into the box to find Ounahi, who steered a low finish into the far corner to force Kiassumbua to pick the ball out of his net once again.

Morocco star Hakimi got his goal in the 70th minute when Ounahi got free yet again and drove an effort that Kiassumbua did well to save, but the rebound fell to the Paris Saint-Germain full back whose mishit shot was enough to throw the Congolese keeper off as the ball bounced past him. The match was far out of reach for DR Congo, who valiantly made a late rally with substitute Ben Malango’s sublime chest down and strike off the half volley to beat Morocco substitute keeper Munir Mohamedi.

The result was deserved for a clinical Morocco side in the end in the only African World Cup qualifying playoff tie that provided little drama. Highlights are in the link below.

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