26, January 2022
Achraf Hakimi curled in a long-range free kick as Morocco came from behind to beat Malawi 2-1 in the last-16 of the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday and stay on course for their first African title in over 45 years. This came after a previously lacklustre Senegal pulled off a 2-0 win over Cape Verde to also reach the quarter-finals.
Fullback Hakimi’s precise strike completed the turn around at the Ahmadou Ahidjou Stadium after Youssef En-Nesyri had equalised on the stroke of halftime.
Malawi went ahead early after a world-class goal from Frank Mhango, who hit a speculative left-footed effort from some 40 metres out and watched in delight as the swerving ball caught out Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou and crashed into the top of the net.
Morocco will meet either Ivory Coast or Egypt in their quarter-final in Yaoundé.
After a tournament littered with upsets, Malawi threatened to cause another as Mhango produced an astonishing effort in the seventh minute.
He then had another chance from a quick counter attack in the 23rd minute to double the lead as the lowly ranked Malawi, participating in only their third Cup of Nations finals and getting past the first round for the first time, looked to shake up their heavily fancied opponents.
However, they quickly retreated after that and defended tenaciously, with goalkeeper Charles Thom producing several unorthodox saves to keep his side’s lead intact.
Yet Thom let a header from En-Nesyri slip through his hands for Morocco’s equaliser two minutes into first-half stoppage time and there was little he could do about the rocket-like free kick from Hakimi.
In between there were several close shaves as Sofiane Boufal missed an easy chance and substitute Ryan Mmaee struck wide from close range.
Source: France 24