Cote d' Ivoire booked a place in the quarter-finals of the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup after shading an entertaining Round of 16 contest with Morocco in Fujairah. The speedy and talented west Africans took an early lead only for Moroccan sensation Younes Bnou Marzouk to draw level in the second half. Junior Ahissan sealed the 2-1 victory for the Ivorians, who will now play Argentina in the last eight.
The game was a rematch of the semi-final of the CAF African championship played in April and just the fourth all-African encounter in U-17 world finals history. It took the Ivorians, who won the last-four contest between the two teams in qualifying, only four minutes to take the lead. Mohamed Saoud was fouled in the penalty area and Franc Kessie stepped up to power a text-book penalty into the back of the net.
The Ivorians almost stretched their lead three minutes later, but Meite Yakou’s wicked shot from the edge of the box scraped against the outside of the post. Nabil Jaadi had a chance for the Moroccans in the 18th minute only for Seck Diabagate to save the effort from close range after a nice run into the box. Both sides had half-chances to score as the half wound down, but neither could find their way through.
Cote d' Ivoire dominated the early moments of the second period, but they were unable to turn their good attacking play into a second goal. They were punished for this profligacy when, after 60 minutes of football, Younes Bnou Marzouk showed why Italian giants Juventus snatched him up, with a goal of stunning quality. Collecting a short pass 25 yards from goal, he dropped his shoulder, sold his marker a feint, and slammed the ball with his right foot low and in off the post to make it 1-1.
The Ivorians were back in the lead with a quarter-hour to go, Junior Ahissan latching on to a horrid pass out from Mohamed Saoud before firing into the back of the net from just inside the area. Oussayd Belkouch got his hand to the ball but not enough to keep it out. It was enough for Cote d' Ivoire to move through to the last-eight, where a date with Argentina awaits.