Hakimi Fires Morocco Into Quarter-Finals After Malawi Scare

Morocco's defender Achraf Hakimi celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Morocco and Malawi at Stade Ahmadou-Ahidjo in Yaounde on January 25, 2022. Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP
Morocco’s defender Achraf Hakimi celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Morocco and Malawi at Stade Ahmadou-Ahidjo in Yaounde on January 25, 2022. Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

 

Achraf Hakimi scored a brilliant free-kick to send Morocco through to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after a 2-1 win over Malawi on Tuesday.

Gabadinho Mhango gave outsiders Malawi, playing their first ever knockout game at the tournament, a shock early lead with a stunning goal from 40 metres at Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium.

But Youssef En-Nesyri headed Morocco level in first-half stoppage time before Hakimi drilled in the winner on 70 minutes to set up a meeting with Egypt or Ivory Coast in the last eight.

READ ALSO: CAF President Blames Closed Gate For Stampede Tragedy In Cameroon

That quarter-final was due to take place at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde but will be moved after a fatal crush outside the ground on Monday which killed eight people and injured 38.

As with the earlier match between Senegal and Cape Verde in Bafoussam, a minute’s silence was observed before kick-off and players of both teams wore black armbands.

Morocco, bidding for a second Cup of Nations title and first since 1976, fell behind on seven minutes when Mhango caught Yassine Bounou off his line with a superb long-range strike.

The Atlas Lions responded by creating a series of chances as Imran Louza stung the palms of Charles Thomu, who then did well to keep out Hakimi’s powerful free-kick and the follow-up from Louza.

Mhango dragged wide for Malawi after a terrific long ball from Micium Mhone, but the Flames found themselves under sustained pressure as Morocco captain Romain Saiss volleyed against the bar.

En-Nesyri prodded weakly at Thomu from close range before the Malawi goalkeeper tipped Hakimi’s low drive onto the post and then denied Sofiane Boufal with his legs.

Morocco were finally rewarded for their persistence on the stroke of half-time as En-Nesyri rose to power Selim Amallah’s deep cross past Thomu.

Hakimi appealed vociferously for a penalty in the second half when his cross struck the arm of Malawi defender Dennis Chembezi, but the Paris Saint-Germain star took matters into his own hands to secure victory.

His late equaliser against Gabon had secured top spot in the group stage, and Hakimi delivered again with another magnificent free-kick 20 minutes from time to end Malawi’s impressive run.

AFP

PSG’s Hakimi Contracts COVID-19

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s new player, Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi looks on ahead of a press conference at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on July 8, 2021. PHOTO: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain wing-back Achraf Hakimi has tested positive for coronavirus and been put into isolation, a source close to the club told AFP on Saturday.

Morroco’s Hakimi, 22, made his Parisian debut in Wednesday’s friendly win over third-tier Le Mans after joining Inter Milan for 60 million euros ($71 million) last week.

He missed Saturday’s pre-season draw with third-division Chambly and is set to be sidelined for next week’s games with Augsburg and Genoa.

READ ALSO: US Shipping 25 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses To Africa – Officials

PSG were hit hard by Covid-19 at the start of last season when several players tested positive and Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria, and Leandro Paredes had to self-isolate after a holiday to Ibiza following the team’s Champions League final loss to Bayern Munich.

AFP

PSG Sign Inter Wing-Back Hakimi In $71 Million Deal

 In this file photo taken on December 20, 2020 Inter Milan's Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi celebrates after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A Inter Milan vs La Spezia at the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 20, 2020 Inter Milan’s Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi celebrates after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A Inter Milan vs La Spezia at the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain announced on Tuesday they had signed Morocco wing-back Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan on a five-year deal.

According to reports the Parisians have paid around 60 millions euros ($71 million) for the 22-year-old who won Serie A with Inter last season.

Hakimi started his career with Real Madrid before joining Borussia Dortmund for a season and then heading to the San Siro.

“I feel a great sense of pride today,” Hakimi said in a PSG statement.

“After Spain, Germany and Italy, Paris Saint-Germain offers me the chance to discover a new championship with one of the most prestigious clubs in the world,” he added.

The nine-time French champions are also reportedly interested in Hakimi’s former Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Ramos as well as AC Milan’s Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma but have already signed Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

Despite 2011’s multi-million takeover by Qatar Sports Investment and signing Brazil’s Neymar for a world record fee they have failed to win the Champions League.

“This calibre of signing shows the level of our ambitions – we continue to build something very special,” PSG’s chief executive officer Nasser Al-Khelaifi said.

“Achraf may only be 22 years old and has already established himself as one of the most talented full-backs in world football – these are the standards we set at the club.”

 

AFP

Aubameyang, Mahrez, African Players On The Spotlight In Europe

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2nd L) celebrates scoring the 0-3 with his team-mates during the UEFA Europa League Group F football match Eintracht Frankfurt v Arsenal in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on September 19, 2019. Daniel ROLAND / AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took the honours among the African stars in Europe at the weekend, scoring twice as Arsenal edged Everton 3-2 in an English Premier League thriller.

The brace from the 30-year-old Gabon star increased his league tally this season to 17, level with Jamie Vardy of Leicester City at the top of the scoring charts.

A brilliant pass from Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez against former club Leicester City set up Gabriel Jesus to score the match-winner for Manchester City.

ENGLAND

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)

Striker Aubameyang was in predatory form as his brace fired Arsenal to a 3-2 victory over Everton at the Emirates Stadium. The 30-year-old netted Arsenal’s second goal to put them 2-1 in front when he sprinted on to David Luiz’s pass and fired into the far corner in the 33rd minute. After Richarlison equalised on the stroke of half-time, Aubameyang struck again 26 seconds into the second half with a glancing header from Ivorian Nicolas Pepe’s cross.

RIYAD MAHREZ (Manchester City)

The winger provided a moment of magic to help Manchester City to their single-goal victory against Leicester. With Pep Guardiola’s side labouring to break down the stubborn hosts at the King Power Stadium, it was Mahrez who found a way to prise open their defence. Surging forward from midfield, Mahrez weighed up his options in an instant and slipped a perfectly-timed pass to Jesus, who buried the 80th-minute winner that moved second-place City seven points clear of third-place Leicester.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

The Ivory Coast forward was involved in a flash-point that saw Newcastle’s Valentino Lazaro sent off in Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win over Newcastle. Patrick van Aanholt’s superb first-half free-kick had put Roy Hodgson’s side on course for their first win of 2020, but the points were not secure until deep into stoppage time when Zaha burst through on goal and was hauled down by Lazaro, who was shown a straight red card.

GERMANY

ACHRAF HAKIMI (Borussia Dortmund)

Real Madrid loanee Hakimi was one of Dortmund’s young guns to shine in a 2-0 win at Werder Bremen, proving constantly dangerous on the right wing. The Moroccan’s pass for Erling Braut Haaland’s goal marked his 10th assist of the season.

CHRISTOPHER ANTWI-ADJEI (Paderborn)

Antwi-Adjei, who was born in Germany but represents Ghana at international level, won the ball back and carried it upfield in the lead-up to Sven Michel’s equaliser in the 75th minute against Bayern Munich. Despite picking up a late yellow card, Antwi-Adjei was impressive throughout in his side’s 3-2 loss to the German champions.

STRELI MAMBA (Paderborn)

Paderborn forward Mamba, who has scored five goals so far this campaign, thought he had a sixth in the fourth minute his side’s defeat at Bayern when he slid the ball under Manuel Neuer, but his goal was ruled offside. The Germany-born player, who has roots in the Democratic Republic of Congo, had another clear chance in the 50th minute but was unable to connect with a lofted cross, injuring his knee in the process.

FRANCE

STEPHANE BAHOKEN (Angers)

Cameroon striker Bahoken came off the bench in the second half and needed only a minute to score the only goal of the game as Angers beat Montpellier 1-0 to record their first league win of 2020. It was just a third league goal of the campaign for the 27-year-old, who netted 11 times last season.

M’BAYE NIANG (Rennes)

The France-born Senegal forward was recalled to the Rennes team for their home clash with Nimes and marked the occasion by scoring twice as the Brittany side came from behind to win 2-1. Niang headed the winning goal in the 89th minute and the result allowed Rennes to reclaim third place in the table as they fight to qualify for the Champions League for the first time. Niang is also now on 10 league goals for the season.

HABIB DIALLO (Metz)

Senegal forward Diallo has been outstanding for Metz this season, wearing the captain’s armband and scoring 12 times for a team fighting to avoid relegation. However, he was sent off late on in his side’s 2-0 defeat by Lyon, receiving a straight red card for hitting out at opposition defender Marcal. He now faces a suspension for upcoming games, with his club hovering just above the bottom three in Ligue 1.

AFP

Morocco’s Hakimi Beats Osimhen, Chukwueze To Win African Youth Player Of The Year

Moroccon defender Achraf Hakimi (L) is presented with the Youth Player of the Year award during the 2019 CAF Awards in the Egyptian resort town of Hurghada on January 7, 2020. Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

 

Morocco and Borussia Dortmund defender, Achraf Hakimi, has been crowned as the African Youth Player Of The Year.

The 21-year-old beat Nigerian duo of Victor Osimhen (Lille) and Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal) to emerge the winner on Tuesday at the 2019 CAF Awards ceremony in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Senegalese striker and Liverpool star Sadio Mane won his first Africa’s 2019 Player of the Year honour.

The 27-year old beat his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah of Egypt who won the award the last two years, as well as Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City).

Celebrating his success at the event, he said, “I am really happy and at the same time I am really proud to win this award. It’s a big day for me.”

Mane scored 34 goals and produced 12 assists in 61 appearances in 2019, according to CAF statistics.

 

The Pride Of Nigeria

It was a win for Nigeria as Super Falcons’ Captain Asisat Oshoala was named as the 2019 African Women’s Player of the Year.

Oshoala, who plays for Spanish side Barcelona, beat Ajara Nchout of Cameroon and South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana, who was crowned in Senegal last year to claim the title.

It is the fourth time the 25-year-old is being crowned the best African female footballer.

She won the award in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and was also among the final three in 2018 but lost to her South African rival Kgatlana.

Shortly after she was announced as the winner, Oshoala took to Twitter to thank her family and friends, as well as her fans and colleagues locally and internationally for their support.

 

Other male awards were claimed by Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi, Algerian Youcef Belaili for African Interclubs Player of the Year and Algeria’s national team.

The female awardees were South African coach Desiree Ellis, and Cameroon’s women national team.

The Egyptian Football Association won the Federation of the Year award.