- Halilhodzic’s team had to turn the score around after Mhango’s shot
A great free-kick from Achraf Hakimi sent Morocco to the African Cup quarter-finals after coming from behind against Malawi (2-1), who put up more of a fight than might have been expected.
Morocco was settling into the match when, almost without realizing it, they were already paddling against the current. Mhango , from home, took a shot that caught Bounou ahead and entered the top corner to, against the odds, put Malawi ahead (7′).
Far from generating uncertainty, beyond the following minutes, Halilhodzic’s team was clear that the only possible path was to subdue a rival who, due to his physical appearance, did not make things easy at all. What’s more, after two clears from Louza and En-Nesyri, Mhango almost made the second against Bono. While Hakimi , who was ultimately the hero of the match, was already sharpening his knives with a free kick that forced Thomu to make a save.
The pressure from Morocco with the ball began to have an effect and the field became uphill for Malawi . Saïss and Hakimi met the woodwork and Thomu resisted as long as he could until he could not take it anymore in the first half and En-Nesyri , with a header, equalized (45′).
That eagerness to find chances that defined Morocco in the first half seemed to have stayed in the locker room. But, after a truce, a wonderful Hakimi free -kick that slipped through the top corner made the difference (70′). With Malui at the mercy, the advantage could even be increased, but a cool head was missing in the definition. It doesn’t matter, Morocco is in the quarterfinals.