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AFCON 2021: Group B review

January 18th 2022, 10:34:14 pm

Group A of the Africa Cup of Nations has been concluded, here is a round-up of all the action from the three games.

Malawi celebrate the first goal of Gabadinho Mhango (No 11) in an Africa Cup of Nations Group B match against Zimbabwe in the Cameroon city of Bafoussam on Friday.

Group B might be described by many as the most underwhelming group of the tournament, but for the likes of Senegal and Guinea who have both secured their places in the round of 16, anyone can say what they like.

Malawi on their part will wait for other results to know their fate, but for Zimbabwe in last place, it’s a journey back home. This is a review of the events from Group B.

While Zimbabwe's 2-1 win over Guinea in their final Group B game might have a shout for the best game of the group, Malawi vs Zimbabwe was a better version.

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End-to-end football and three beautiful goals were on the menu as Malawi went for their first (and only) win of the group against Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe, who controlled much of the possession, scored first in the game as Ishmael Wadi converted the most difficult headed opportunity whilst backtracking.

But Malawi came back stronger, as Gabadinho Mhango scored twice, one in the first half and the other in the second to end their run of five consecutive defeats.

Guinea's goalkeeper Aly Keita was the standout man in Group B. Two man of the match performances against Malawi and Senegal meant the 35-year-old Ostersunds man will help his team to four points from two games.

Particularly, against Malawi where he had 'his' man of the match award given team mate, Naby Keita. The goalkeeper had up to 5 fabulous saves to keep the Flames from scoring. Little wonder football fans took to social media after the game to claim the award had been given to the wrong Keita.

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After two impressive games of Aly Keita keeping clean sheets, he was finally beaten -- twice -- as Guinea fell to a 2-1 defeat in their final group game with Zimbabwe.

With 2 goals to his name, Gabadinho Mhango ended as the top scorer in Group B.

Before the AFCON tournament, Mhango had a bit of negative fame after he had an altercation in South Africa early in 2022. In Cameroon, against Zimbabwe, the attacking midfielder had a sterling match, ensuring his side did not lose a second game after having lost their opener to Guinea.

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Scoring two goals on either side of half-time to complete a remarkable turnaround for Malawi was enough to see him top the scoring charts for a Group B which recorded just 8 goals in all six group games.

Sadio Mane scored a last-minute penalty to nick a 1-0 win for pre-tournament favourites Senegal in their AFCON opener against Zimbabwe.

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Despite playing poorly for the most part of the match, Senegal got lucky deep into second-half stoppage time after Kelvin Madzongwe’s handball in the box meant that Guatemalan referee Mario Escobar would award a spot-kick in the last-minute. A decision backed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Mane would go on to win the man of the match award after converting the penalty.

With a win and two defeats in three Group B games, Zimbabwe was easily the most disappointing team of the group. Surprisingly, their best performance came in their final game with Guinea, which ended in a 2-1 win. But it was already too little too late for the Warriors.

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