Marc Wilmots' Ivory Coast needed a win at home to qualify for their fourth consecutive World Cup, but two errors by goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo put chances of victory out of reach in the first half.
Morocco won 2-0 against Ivory Coast, securing their place in World Cup in Russian Federation next year.
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Tunisia could not break down neighbours Libya in Rades on the outskirts of Tunis and had to settle for a 0-0 draw that was just enough to see them first over the finishing line.
Tunisia's point ensures their fifth World Cup participation - and their first since 2006 - but ensures that the Democratic Republic of Congo's wait to return to the global showpiece for the first time since 1974 will continue.
Despite needing only a point to qualify, the Atlas Lions weren't prepared to sit on a slender lead and doubled their advantage five minutes later when former Bayern Munich center back Medhi Benatia turned in a left wing corner. Belgian coach Marc Wilmots tried to revive the lacklustre Ivorians by introducing Ghislain Konan at half-time and Maxwel Cornet and veteran Salomon Kalou during the second half. However Morocco went beyond the required with a comfortable win in Abidjan.
Tunisia dominated possession at the Stade Olympique, but unpredictable Libya defended resolutely, creating an increasingly tense atmosphere.