Morocco qualified for this year’s World Cup in Qatar after Azzedine Ounahi netted a double as they overcame first-half injuries to beat the Democratic Republic of Congo 4-1 in the second leg of their playoff on Tuesday. Morocco advanced 5-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in Kinshasa in Friday’s first leg and will compete at the finals for a sixth time. Tarik Tissuoadali and Achraf Hakimi scored the other goals for Morocco, who were 2-0 up at halftime despite losing defender Jawad El Yamiq after six minutes to a muscle injury and having to take off goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, suffering from concussion after twice being hit on the head in aerial duels, in the 43rd.
Substitute Ben Malongo netted a consolation for the Congolese with a shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty box that was the pick of the night’s efforts.
Ounahi, who won his first cap for Morocco in January after being named as a surprise selection for January’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament, hammered home a half-volley from outside the area, snapping up a loose ball to put Morocco into the lead in the 21st minute.
Tissadouli, who had scored in the first leg on Friday, added the second in the 12 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half that was caused by lengthy injury delays. He ran onto a botched clearance to fire home with precision.
Ounahi was given far too much time in the Congolese area to steady himself and pick his corner for the third goal in the 54th minute, all but ending any contest and allowing the home crowd to party through the second half.
The gulf between the two teams was made even more evident when Ounahi’s shot in the 69th minute was parried by goalkeeper Joel Kiassumbua but Hakimi followed up to net from a tight angle.
Malongo’s 77th-minute goal gave the Congolese some cheer but they were thoroughly outplayed as their bid to qualify for the first time since 1974, when the country was still known as Zaire, ended in bitter disappointment.