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Afcon 2021: Malawi overcome Zimbabwe to boost last 16 hopes

Malawi are appearing at the Africa Cup of Nations for a third timeGabadinho Mhango scored twice as Malawi beat Zimbabwe 2-1 to boost their hopes of a first-ever appearance in the last 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations.Zimbabwe went ahead with a superb 38th-minute header from Ishmael Wadi, but Mhango equalised five minutes later with a controlled half-volley.And Mhango put the Flames ahead in their Group B clash by dinking over the keeper 13 minutes into the second half.Malawi sit a point behind Guinea and Senegal, who both have four points.The victory is only Malawi’s second win at the Nations Cup, with their first – a 3-0 victory over Algeria – coming upon their tournament debut in 2010 when they exited in the group stages. The Flames know victory over pre-tournament favourites Senegal in their final group game on Tuesday will see them through to the knock-out stage, while a point could be enough to progress as one of four best third-placed sides.Both sides had lost their opening games 1-0, with Zimbabwe beaten by a 97th-minute Senegalese penalty and Malawi by Guinea, and it was the Zimbabweans who had the better first-half openings.Warriors centre-back Gerald Takwara sent a free header down and wide, while Wadi saw one headed effort go close and another pushed behind by Malawi keeper Ernest Kakhobwe.Wadi’s opener was a fine header from Bruce Kangwa’s left-wing cross, which he directed back across goal from 14 yards and looped over the keeper.Another good ball into the box – this time by Francisco Madinga – set the platform for Mhango to quickly equalise at the back post and the forward then completed the comeback with a composed finish.The Flames were still without head of technical panel Mario Marinica but had several players available again after a Covid-19 outbreak, having only been able to name four substitutes in their opening game against Guinea.Defeat means Zimbabwe become the first team to be eliminated from the Nations Cup, as they can no longer finish third in the group.Line-upsMalawiFormation 3-4-1-216Kakhobwe21Chirwa19Mzava5Chembezi2Sanudi17Banda8Idana10Madinga11Mhango9Mbulu22Muyaba16KakhobweBooked at 90mins21Chirwa19MzavaSubstituted forChaziyaat 27’minutes5Chembezi2SanudiBooked at 49mins17Banda8IdanaSubstituted forPhiriat 84’minutes10MadingaSubstituted forPetroat 84’minutes11Mhango9MbuluSubstituted forBandaat 66’minutes22MuyabaSubstituted forChesterat 66’minutesSubstitutes1Thomu3Petro4Cholopi6Chirwa7Mhone12Fodyah13Banda14Ngalande15Chaziya20Chester26Davie27PhiriZimbabweFormation 4-1-4-11Mhari22Chimwemwe5Takwara15Hadebe14Bhasera4Madzongwe7Wadi17Musona8Benyu12Kangwa10Kadewere1Mhari22Chimwemwe5Takwara15HadebeBooked at 29mins14Bhasera4MadzongweBooked at 83mins7WadiSubstituted forMahachiat 84’minutes17MusonaSubstituted forMuskweat 78’minutes8Benyu12KangwaBooked at 20minsSubstituted forZemuraat 67’minutes10KadewereSubstitutes2Murwira3Zemura6Mudimu9Moyo11Tigere13Kamusoko16Mahachi18Dube19Muskwe20Muduhwa21Shumba23MapisaLive TextMatch ends, Malawi 2, Zimbabwe 1.Second Half ends, Malawi 2, Zimbabwe 1.Ernest Kakhobwe (Malawi) is shown the yellow card.Attempt missed. Kudakwashe Mahachi (Zimbabwe) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left from a direct free kick.Tinotenda Kadewere (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Foul by Dennis Chembezi (Malawi).Foul by Jordan Zemura (Zimbabwe).Gomezgani Chirwa (Malawi) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Corner, Zimbabwe. Conceded by Yamikani Chester.Jordan Zemura (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick on the left wing.Foul by Stanley Sanudi (Malawi).Substitution, Malawi. John Charles Petro replaces Francisco Madinga.Substitution, Malawi. Gerald Phiri replaces Chimwemwe Idana.Substitution, Zimbabwe. Kudakwashe Mahachi replaces Ishmael Wadi because of an injury.Kelvin Madzongwe (Zimbabwe) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Foul by Kelvin Madzongwe (Zimbabwe).Gabadinho Mhango (Malawi) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Substitution, Zimbabwe. Admiral Muskwe replaces Knowledge Musona.Foul by Ishmael Wadi (Zimbabwe).Gomezgani Chirwa (Malawi) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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