Morocco's Khalid Boutaib hopeful of reaching Russia in 2018

Morocco's Khalid Boutaib hopeful of reaching Russia in 2018
Khalid Boutaib of Morocco

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 18:30

Moroccan striker Khalid Boutaib says scoring a hat-trick against Gabon in their previous 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier brought hope of reaching Russia.


The Atlas Lions are close to securing a ticket to the global showpiece, but will need a draw against a star-studded Cote d'Ivoire side on Saturday.




Although their hopes were not so bright in the opening stages of the campaign, Boutaib's hat-trick against the Panthers last month kept Morocco’s chances alive, leaving them needing a draw in Abidjan to qualify for Russia 2018.


“We absolutely wanted to beat Gabon at home to tackle the last match in Abidjan with a chance to qualify," Boutaib told FIFA.com.


"There was a lot at stake because the Gabonese had to win if they wanted their chances to stay alive. We took advantage of the Mali draw and now we are in a good position.


"To score three goals, in a game as important as the one against Gabon and in the Casablanca stadium, where there is a great atmosphere, was a great moment.


"I felt a lot of joy and pride. I had already scored once in the 6-0 victory against Mali at the end of August. But these three goals allowed us to take three points and lead the group.”




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