Malawi’s Gabadinho Mhango scored twice as they stunned southern African rivals Zimbabwe with a 2-1 victory in Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations to keep their second round hopes alive at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam on Friday.
Ishmael Wadi put Zimbabwe ahead in the first half, but Mhango levelled just before the break and then added the second after 58 minutes as he took advantage of some hesitant defending and supplied a poacher’s finish.
Malawi have three points from two games and lie third in the group behind Senegal and Guinea, who each have four. Zimbabwe have lost both of their matches to date.
Malawi, whose only other win at the Cup of Nations was a 3-0 success over Algeria in 2010, play Senegal in their final Group B game at the same venue on Tuesday, while Zimbabwe will meet Guinea in Yaounde.
Malawi were back to a full strength squad after they had 13 players missing in their opening loss to Guinea, with Mhango one of their returnees.
The bustling striker, who plays for Orlando Pirates in SA, was a constant thorn in the side of Zimbabwe with his pace and showed great composure to finish both goals.
Zimbabwe were the better side in the opening period and looked particularly dangerous when they swung high balls into the Malawi box, wasting a number of headed chances before they finally got it right,
Experienced full-back Onismor Bhasera delivered a cross from the left and Wadi connected just over 10 metres from goal. His header looped over goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe into the net.
The lead lasted only four minutes though as Mhango provided a neat first-time finish with his right foot at the back post from Francisco Madinga’s deep cross.
The latter then struck the frame of the goal early in the second period, before Malawi did take the lead.
A forward pass from Mhango was missed by Madinga, but Zimbabwe defender Teenage Hadebe hesitated as he expected goalkeeper Petros Mhari to come and collect the loose ball.
That allowed Mhango, who had kept on running, to steal in and score from close range.