Hakimi puts Morocco in the quarterfinals after a scare in Malawi

Achraf Hakimi scored a brilliant free kick to send Morocco to the African Cup of Nations quarter-finals after a 2-1 victory over Malawi on Tuesday. Gabadinho Mhango gave outsiders Malawi, playing their first knockout match in the tournament, a surprising early lead with a stunning 40-metre strike at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium. But Youssef En-Nesyri headed in Morocco’s equalizer in first-half stoppage time before Hakimi scored the winner in the 70th minute to set up a meeting with Egypt or Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals. Those quarter-finals were due to take place at Yaoundé’s Olembe stadium but will be moved after a fatal crush off the pitch on Monday that killed eight people and injured 38. As in the previous match between Senegal and Cape Verde in Bafoussam, a minute’s silence was observed before kick-off and players from both teams wore black armbands. Morocco, bidding for its second Nations Cup title and first since 1976, fell behind after seven minutes when Mhango caught Yassine Bounou off his line with a superb long-range shot. The Atlas Lions responded by creating a series of chances when Imran Louza stung the palms of Charles Thomu, who then did well to avoid Hakimi’s powerful free-kick and Louza’s follow-up. Mhango deflected for Malawi after a tremendous long ball from Micium Mhone, but the Flames found themselves under sustained pressure when Morocco captain Romain Saiss volleyed off the bar. En-Nesyri pushed Thomu weakly from close range before the Malawi keeper deflected Hakimi’s low shot to the post and then denied Sofiane Boufal with his legs. Morocco were finally rewarded for their persistence at the stroke of half-time when En-Nesyri rose to power Selim Amallah’s deep cross past Thomu. Hakimi cried out for a second-half penalty when his cross hit the arm of Malawi defender Dennis Chembezi, but the Paris Saint-Germain star took matters into his own hands to secure victory. His late equalizer against Gabon secured top spot in the group stage, and Hakimi struck another magnificent free-kick with 20 minutes remaining to end Malawi’s impressive run. Read More Related Sport News Here What do you think about this; Hakimi puts Morocco in the quarterfinals after a scare in Malawi | Newslodge Nigeria News Let’s hear your opinion in the comment below!