Monday Oct 09, 2017. 21:00
The Ivory Coast v Morocco match in Abidjan match in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers next month has been likened to a final by Elephants coach Marc Wilmots.
The Elephants dropped off the summit of Group C this past weekend after they were held 0-0 by Mali in Bamako, allowing Morocco to leapfrog into first place with a 3-0 win over Gabon.
The top two teams will meet in Abidjan in the final round of matches next month, with Morocco needing only a draw to secure a place in Russia 2018.
Ivory Coast, meanwhile, must defeat the Atlas Lions to reclaim first place and secure a berth at their fourth successive World Cup.
Wilmots believed his defence did a superb job in keeping Mali at bay, and also cited their injury problems as a contributing factor in their failure to win.
“Overall, there was a dominance of Mali which is a very difficult team to play at home,” said the Belgian coach, as quoted by Fratmat.
“The defence was in place but I think it was the whole team that made the effort,” added Wilmots.
“The attackers participated in this work. Notably Roger Assalé and Maxwell Cornet.
“We had a lot of injuries before this game. We had to rebuild a team and quickly. This is the first time this midfielder has played together.”
The Elephants coach concluded, “We took a point on this game. We will have a final in Abidjan that we must win against Morocco.”