from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) – A double by Gabadinho Mhango settled this eagerly-anticipated Southern African derby played at the Kouekong Stadium in western Cameroon.
The South African-based striker is having a nightmarish campaign in the domestic premiership but restated his qualities with a Man-of-the Match performance that revives Malawi’s prospects of progressing to the knockout stages.
The Flames , 2-1 win over disappointing Zimbabwe douses the Warriors’ hopes of progressing to the same stage.
Norman Mapeza’s pointless Zimbabwe remain bottom of Group B while Meke Mwase’s underdogs retain third position.
They are in with a shout, either directly or as one of the best-placed third-placed finishers.
After suffering one of the most heartbreaking results in the tournament’s history (a last kickoff the match from the penalty spot against Senegal), Mapeza needed character from his personnel.
Mwase’s charges also had their work cut out for them after a similar 1-0 loss to the other West African side, Guinea.
Against a team they had not lost to in eight games, the odds favoured Zimbabwe.
And they duly responded.
Ishmael Wadi’s wonderful headed open in the 38th minute was a beauty. Lurking around the penalty spot, he rose majestically to power home a savoury cross from leftback Onismor Bhasera.
Ernest Kakhobwe’s diving attempt was in vain.
The lead however lasted only five minutes.
Malawi likewise capitalised on a defensive lapse in the opponent’s left flank.
Fransico Madinga’s cross seemed harmless but the moment it soared over Teenage Hadebe, disaster loomed.
Mhango welcomed the glorious opportunity with a first time finish past Petros Mhari.
The Zimbabweans were treading dangerously. They suffered another nervous moment in the 49th minute but Madinga’s effort flashed across goal.
Malawi’s second goal was a characteristic Hadebe blunder and a typical Mhango’s predatory finish.
Mhango sneaked in ahead of the hesitant centreback, stole the ball and haunted Mhari again with a low finish.
Mhango could have registered a hat-trick in the 63rd minute and put Malawi out of sight but he fluffed his shot horribly high and wide.
Zimbabwe’s search for an equaliser and their 67 percent to 33 percent possession proved futile as Malawi held on to a second win ever in the tournament.
The previous win was a 3-0 outcome over Algeria in 2010.
A flight back to Harare highly imminent, Zimbabwe next face log leaders Guinea and Malawi play Senegal.
Guinea and Senegal finished goalless in the earlier match, a West African derby.
– CAJ News