Malawi national team hopes of winning Group B of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier disappeared with an all too familiar tactical collapse and a series of fielding errors when Morroco walloped the Flames 0-3 at Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca.
The Flames last qualified for the Afcon finals in 2010 and started the qualifiers for next year’s edition with a 1-0 win over Comoros in June last year.
Earlier, Goup B opponents Comoros Island drew 1-1 with Cameroon for the Indomitable Lions to garner four points to lead the poll.
The result sees the Atlas Lions of Morroce move to second place on three points, taking over the position from the Flames (who also have three points) on head-to-head record.
The winner of the group, according to the Confederations of Africa Football (CAF) arrangement, will qualify for the finals slated for Cameroon.
However, if Cameroon wins the group, the second positioned side will go through since Cameroon have already qualified as hosts.
Morocco got off to a flyer and claimed the lead in just the third minute, with Ajax star midfielder Hakim Ziyech powering into space down the left before beating Malawi goalkeeper Charles Swini with a low shot.
The Atlas Lions ended the first half in the same way they started it: finding the back of the net. This time Youssef En-Nesyri was the goal scorer, turning home an assist from Achraf Hakimi in the 42nd minute to see his side go 2-0 up.
The second half saw the North Africans continue their dominance, with Nordin Amrabat denied a strong claim for a penalty before seeing a shot on goal well saved by Swini just before the hour mark.
Morocco added to their advantage in the 78th minute, with En-Nesyri completing his brace with a powerful shot which burst through the goalkeeper’s arms to wrap up the scoring at 3-0.
The teams will return to AFCON qualifying action next month with double-header clashes. The Atlas Lions will face island minnows Comoros, while Malawi face 2019 tournament hosts Cameroon.
Malawi: Swini, Chembezi, Sanudi, Mzava, Sambani, Phiri, F. Banda, J. Banda, Manyozo, Mbulu, Mhango
Morocco: Bounou, Dirar (Mazraoui 73’), Bennasser, Saiss, Hakimi, Fajr, El Ahmadi, Amrabat, Belhanda, Ziyech, En-NesyriFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :