Orlando Pirates and Malawi forward Gabadinho Mhango’s brace guided his nation past Zimbabwe in a 2-1 win in their second Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations game on Friday.
Mhango netted in either half of the game to help Malawi rally a comeback as Zimbabwe had drawn first blood through Ishmael Wadi at the Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium, Kouekong.
An evenly matched first half witnessed both sides having a fair share of goalscoring opportunities that turned into one goal apiece.
First, at 38 minutes, Onismor Bhasera crossed beautifully in the box for Wadi to head in and break the deadlock for Zimbabwe.
Five minutes later, Mhango sweetly volleyed in Francisco Madinga’s cross for Malawi’s equalizer.
Five minutes after the restart, Madinga was on the wrong side of luck after his effort crashed against the post to deny a second for Malawi.
Two minutes to the hour-mark, Mhango capitalized on Zimbabwe’s defensive lapses, and won the battle of wills after finding himself one on one with goalkeeper Petros Mhari, to make it two for the Malawians.
Malawi who are now third on three points behind Guinea and Senegal (both on four) have boosted their chances of qualifying to the knockout round with the victory.
They will have a chance to seal the qualification deal in the last group game against Senegal on January 18 at the Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium, Kouekong.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe may go home on the same day if they fail to win the last game against Guinea at the Ahamadou Ahidjo Stadium.
How they lined up
Malawi: Ernest Kakhobwe (GK), John Banda, Dennis Chembezi, Gomezgani Chirwa, Chimwemwe Idana, Francisco Madinga, Richard Mbulu, Gabadinho Mhango, Khuda Muyaba, Stanley Sanudi, Limbikani Mzava.
Substitutions: Lawrence Cyaziya, Peter Banda, Chester Yamikani, Peter Cholopi, Chikoti Chirwa, Stein Davie, Mark Fodya, Micium Mhone, Robin Ngalande, Charles Petro, Junior Gerard Phiri, Charles Thomu.
Zimbabwe: Petros Mhari (GK), Onismor Basera, Teenage Hedebe, Gerald Takwara, Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Kelvin Madzongwe, Bruce Kangwa, Kundai Benyu, Knowledge Musona, Ishmael Wadi, Tino Kadewere.
Substitutions: Prince Dube, Thabani Kamusoko, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Martin Mapisa, David Moyo, Alec Mudimu, Peter Muduhwa, Godknows Murwira, Admiral Musukwe, Talbert Shumba, Never Tigere, Jordan Zemura.