Morocco moved to the top of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group after beating Gabon 3-0 at the Stade Mohammed V on Saturday night.

The win sees them up to nine points in Group C, one above second placed Cote d’Ivoire who drew 0-0 against Mali on Friday night.

Gabon are third in the group with five points and are now unable to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year, as are Mali who have three points at the bottom of the standings.

In Casablanca on Saturday night, a superb individual performance from Khalid Boutaib saw him net a hat-trick as Morocco cruised to only their second win in the group.

The match itself started a little slowly with neither side creating any significant goalscoring chances in the opening half hour.

The deadlock was broken in the 38th minute when a clinical finish from Khalid Boutaib gave the home side the lead.

Ten minutes into the second half Morocco doubled their lead when Boutaib found his second goal with a neat finish

The icing on the cake was Khalid Boutaib’s third goal in the 72nd minute which handed Morocco a comfortable 3-0 win.

Morocco will now face Cote d’Ivoire in their final 2018 World Cup qualifier in November with the winner of that match heading to the showpiece in Russia.

Morocco (1) 3 (Khalid Boutaib 38’, 55’ + 72’)
Gabon (0) 0

Teams

Morocco: Munir, Amrabat (Harit 90’), Belhanda, Benatia (Banoun 81’), Boussoufa, Boutaib (Bouhaddouz 81’), Dirar, El Ahmadi, Hakimi, Saiss, Ziyech.

Gabon: Bitseki, Aubameyang, Bouanga (Nzembi 85’), Ecuele, Lemina, Meye Me Ndong, Ndong, Nzambe, Appindangoye, Tandjigora, Wachter.