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Sunday, 20 June 2021

Ivory Coast's World Cup hopes in the balance after draw in Mali

Reuters , Saturday 7 Oct 2017
Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast's Cornet Maxwel (C) fights for the ball with Guinea's Alseny Bangoura (L) and Issiaga Sylla (R) during the 2019 African Cup of Nations football match qualifier between Ivory Coast and Guinea at The Stade de la Paix in Bouake on June 10, 2017 (Photo: AFP)

The Ivory Coast extended their lead at the top of Group C in their World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday, but the 0-0 draw away to Mali means they can now be overtaken by Morocco.

Russian-based striker Moussa Doumbia missed a first half sitter and struck the crossbar in the second half as the hosts, already out of contention for a place at next year's finals, came close to their first win of the campaign.

The Ivorians, who lost several key players to injury on the eve of the game, moved to eight points from five matches, two more than Morocco who play on Saturday at home to Gabon.

Should the Moroccans win, they will go top by a point and set up a potentially dramatic conclusion to the group next month when they travel to the Ivory Coast for their last match.

The Ivorians have been to the last three World Cup finals but turned in a listless showing on Friday.

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