Belhanda ruled out of key Morocco qualifier

Morocco midfielder Younes Belhanda will miss his country's key World Cup qualifier against the Ivory Coast in Marrakech on Saturday because of an ankle injury, the country's football federation said on Tuesday.

Belhanda was hurt on Saturday in the 1-1 draw away at the Gambia at the start of the Group C campaign.

He will be out for three weeks, a statement said, but available to begin pre-season training with new French champions Montpellier at the end of the month.

The absence of the talented midfielder is the latest in a run of major injuries for Morocco who go into the game against Africa's top-ranked side without at least five regulars.