AFCON’s Two Best Celebrations Were 5 Minutes Apart

Malawi’s 2-1 win over Zimbabwe at 2021 AFCON featured two epic goal celebrations.

There is truly nothing like the Africa Cup of Nations, and this year’s edition is no different. Sure, we’ve had our share of cringey moments, including in-match commercials, terrible officiating mistakes after the ref suffered heat stroke and anthem fails, but overall, the 2021 AFCON has been thrilling, especially if you like matches decided by just one goal. 

On Friday, just in time to create feel-good vibes heading into the weekend, Malawi and Zimbabwe provided immense joy with two of the best celebrations of the tournament thus far on goals scored five minutes apart. Malawi rallied for a 2-1 win, but Zimbabwe won our hearts with the dance of the year. 

Both Zimbabwe and Malawi opened the tournament with 1-0 defeats but with four of six third-place teams advancing were both still very much alive to reach the knockout rounds. 

Zimbabwe equaled its 2019 AFCON goals tally in the 38th minute when Ishmael Wadi scored a soaring header. He and his teammates then ran the length of the pitch to celebrate with my new favorite dance.

Zimbabwe Goal Celebration vs. Malawi

That’s instantly better than every TikTok dance ever.

Zimbabwe crashed out of the 2019 AFCON with one draw and two defeats, scoring just one goal. The Warriors might be heading for another early exit after being unable to hold onto the lead for more than five minutes.

Frank “Gabadinho” Mhango scored the first of two goals to equalize a couple minutes before halftime. The Orlando Pirates forward snuck in at the back post to bulge the onion bag before doing his best Simone Biles impersonation, getting impressive height on a stellar backflip.

Gabadinho Mhango Goal Celebration vs. Zimbabwe

(Note: If you want to see the full goal highlights, see the YouTube video below, because beIN SPORTS decided it wasn’t worth tweeting the goals out, just the celebrations.)

Houston Dynamo defender Teenage Hadebe just missed a clearing header on Mhango’s first goal and then was at fault on Malawi’s second. Hadebe was too casual with the ball in the box, allowing Mhango to race past him for the winner in the 58th minute.

There was no backflip on Mhango’s second goal, but he’ll be even happier with the three points, putting Malawi in decent position to advance to the Round of 16. 

Here are the full match highlights, including all three goals. 

Malawi vs. Zimbabwe Highlights (2021 AFCON)

Malawi is playing in just its third AFCON and first since 2010. The Flames can reach the knockout rounds for the first time ever with a win over group favorite Senegal on Tuesday, Jan. 18, though a draw or even a defeat may be enough to see them through, depending on results elsewhere. Zimbabwe faces a tough climb to get out of the group stage and will play Guinea at the same time on Tuesday.

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