Title-holders Ivory Coast were dumped out of the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday after a superb Rachid Alioui goal gave Herve Renard coached Morocco a 1-0 win in Gabon.
- Morocco shock Ivory Coast
- Congo thrash Togo
Clinching a quarterfinals place was particularly sweet for Frenchman Renard, the coach of the Ivorians when they won the biennial tournament two years ago.
The blond, bronzed 48-year-old, wearing his lucky white shirt, hopes to become the first coach to win three Cup of Nations titles with three different countries.
He guided outsiders Zambia to glory in 2012 and repeated the feat with perennial underachievers the Ivory Coast three years later.
The winning goal came on 64 minutes from France-based Alioui and set up a last-eight showdown against the Group D winners in Port-Gentil Sunday.
Democratic Republic of Congo beat Togo 3-1 in the other Group C match to top the standings with seven points followed by Morocco (six), Ivory Coast (two) and Togo (one).
The Ivorian Elephants and the Moroccan Atlas Lions were renewing a long rivalry with the last episode a 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Marrakech two months ago.
Both teams rattled the woodwork during a first half which ended 0-0 after the Ivory Coast dominated possession in the northern town of Oyem.
Moroccan Faycal Fajr struck the crossbar from a free-kick on 25 minutes with his curled right-foot attempt eluding goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.
Rival shot-stopper Munir Mohamedi made a good reflex save eight minutes before half-time to push away a shot from Wilfried Zaha, who was set up by a superb Salomon Kalou pass.
Veteran Kalou went even closer just before the break with a far-post header that beat Mohamedi but went wide of the post.