Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic acknowledges his side can still improve after they came from behind to beat Malawi 2-1 in the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 on Tuesday night.
The Flames took a shock lead through Gabadinho Mhango after just seven minutes at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, but the Atlas Lions rallied as goals from Youssef En-Nesyri (45′) and Achraf Hakimi (70′) secured the comeback win.
Mhango’s goal was world-class goal as he 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.
After surviving another close shave by Mhango, the Moroccans shifted into gear and pounced on the Malawi Flames until they got the result.
Morocco’s Carthage Eagles now await the winners of Wednesday’s clash between Ivory Coast and Egypt in the quarter-finals and Halilhodzic admits his players need to raise their performance levels to reach the semis for the first time since 2004.
However, the Bosnian tactician praised the way the North Africans were able to stamp their authority on proceedings in Yaounde after going behind so early in the match.
“It was not an easy game. When we conceded the goal, it made my team react and it was very complex. In the second half we didn’t lose concentration and managed to organize ourselves and take control of the game,” Halilhodzic said in his post-match interview.
“We will remain committed and look to win the next games. We had plenty of chances and hesitated a lot. I hope that in the next game we will be more effective.
“I hope that the players who are injured recover and join the squad soon. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, we are aware that we are not at the level we want. I believe that with more games like these we can gain more confidence.” – africanfootball.com
Halilhodzic insists Morocco will get better