Preview: Morocco vs. Malawi

Preview: Morocco vs. Malawi

Having enjoyed an unbeaten group-stage run, Morocco lock horns with Malawi in the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Tuesday.

The Flames, meanwhile, head into the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed sides in the group stages after picking up four points from three games.

Morocco will be delighted by their start to the Africa Cup of Nations and will feel confident in their chances of going all the way to clinch their third continental title, having made it through to the round of 16 following an almost perfect run in the group stages.

The Atlas Lions, who enjoyed an unbeaten journey in the qualifiers, kicked off their campaign with a hard-earned win over a resilient Ghana side on January 10, when Sofiane Boufal struck the winner in the 83rd minute.

This was followed by a more comfortable 2-0 victory over Comoros at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium four days later courtesy of goals in either half from Selim Amallah and AZ Alkmaar forward Zakaria Aboukhlal.

However, Vahid Halilhodzic’s side were denied their third win on the bounce and a 100% record in the group stages last time out when they were held to a thrilling 2-2 draw by a dogged Gabon side.

In an end-to-end affair, the Panthers went in front twice in the game through Jim Allevinah and an own goal from defender Nayef Aguerd, but Sofiane and Achraf Hakimi came up trumps for Morocco as they restored parity on each occasion.

Morocco, who have now made it to the knockout stages for the third consecutive time, now have 14 wins from their last 15 games in all competitions — a run which has also seen them progress to the playoffs of the 2022 FIFA World Cup where they face Congo DR over two legs.

Malawi, on the other hand, were denied a dream start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign as they fell to an opening-day 1-0 loss to Guinea on January 10.

However, the Flames bounced back in their subsequent group outing as they came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Zimbabwe courtesy of a brace from Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango.

Malawi finally wrapped things up in the group stages with an uneventful goalless draw with Senegal last time out which saw them finish third in Group B and secure a place in the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Morocco Africa Cup of Nations form:
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Morocco form (all competitions):
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Malawi Africa Cup of Nations form:
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Malawi form (all competitions):
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We say: Morocco 2-0 Malawi
Morocco head into the knockout stages on the back of a fine group-stage run and will look to stamp their name as genuine title contenders. They boast the needed quality and experience at this stage of the competition and we are backing them to come away with the win in regular time on Tuesday.

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