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FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Ivory Coast v Morocco

Morocco will hope to put accusations of doping behind them as they prepare to face the Ivory Coast in FIFA World Cup qualifying.

An unspecified member of Rachid Taoussi’s squad was hit with a provisional 30-day ban last month after failing a drug test in the aftermath of a June meeting with Tanzania.

And, though the Moroccans have little to play for in Abidjan on Saturday, they will hope to round off an unsuccessful qualification campaign with a morale-boosting victory against the group winners.

The Ivory Coast have avoided defeat in all five of their games so far, and were denied a win only once, when Morocco scored an 89th-minute equaliser to take a 2-2 draw in Marrakech in June 2012.

Hamza Abourazzouk was the hero on that occasion, though he has been omitted this time around.

Despite the Ivory Coast being already assured of a place in the next round, Sabri Lamouchi has named a strong squad containing the likes of Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure and Galatasaray forward Didier Drogba.

The 41-year-old manager has been forced to make two changes, however, with Romaric and Cisse Abdoul Karim having replaced Mathis Bolly and Jean-Jacques Gosso due to injuries.

The Group C winners will hope to pick up form ahead of the two-legged play-off tie which will determine whether they reach a third-straight World Cup, having suffered a 4-1 friendly defeat to Mexico last time out.

Morocco, meanwhile, are left to lament a fourth-successive failure in qualification and the fall-out from FIFA’s ongoing doping investigation.

Thu 5 September, 2013
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