AFCON 2017 Defending champions Ivory Coast must beat Morocco for last eight

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The Ivorians could be the next major casualty at this year’s tournament unless they can get the better of Morocco.

Ivory Coast's players take part in a training session on January 22, 2017 in Bitam during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon play

Ivory Coast's players take part in a training session on January 22, 2017 in Bitam during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon

(AFP)

African Nations Cup holders Ivory Coast must beat Morocco to secure progress to the last eight when they meet at the ongoing tournament in Gabon later on Tuesday at Oyem.

The Ivorians could be the next major casualty at this year’s tournament unless they can get the better of Morocco and their former coach Herve Renard in their last Group C match.

Failure to do so will see them follow hosts Gabon and pre-tournament favourites Algeria out of the door.

Ivory Coast were in a similar position two years ago when they also drew their opening two games but then went on a winning run that took them to the title.

“Don’t worry we’ll do it again,’’ promised fullback Serge Aurier after their last draw against the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday.

DR Congo are top on four points and are expected to see off Togo, on one point, in Port Gentil to go through as group winners.

Morocco, in second spot, have three points, one more than the Ivorians.

Since departing the Ivory Coast, who he led to the 2015 Nations Cup title, Morocco coach Renard has already had one reunion with his former charges in a World Cup qualifier in Marrakech in November which ended in a 0-0 draw.

On Monday, Senegal, who had already secured top place, rested key players as they drew 2-2 with Algeria in Franceville, while Tunisia, who needed just one point to take second spot, comfortably beat Zimbabwe 4-2 in Libreville. 

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