Gabadinho Mhango was an early contender for the 2022 Puskas Award in the first minutes of Malawi’s clash against Morocco.
The 29-year old found himself in isolation on a counter-attack. He was 40 years from his goal.
As Malawi threatened to pull off yet another surprise at the Africa Cup of Nations, the ball spun and deflected into the top corner.
Their hopes of progressing to the next round were dashed by a stunning free kick from Achraf Haikimi.
To put Morocco in the next round, Hakimi found the net 35 yards from the set-piece.
“Ain’t half been some screamers this AFCON,”After Malawi’s opening, one fan tweeted.
An additional: “My word, that is outstanding!”
“The ability of Mhango to pick out the top corner and even the vision to see the opportunity is next-level,”A third tweet.
“Malawi’s Gabadinho Mhango with possibly one of the greatest strikes of all time. In the history of international tournaments. It’s that good,”An additional fourth is possible.
Which strike was superior? Mhango or Hakimi? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section
However, Mhango’s strike was quickly forgotten when Hakimi stepped over the ball as the match was tied at 1-1.
To send Morocco into the next round, the PSG man rolled the ball in the top right corner.
His strike promoted Kylian Mbappe, his PSG teammate to claim: Achraf Haikimi, best RB in the world!”
“Hakimi’s free kick is amazing. The bend, the placement in the top corner, and the power behind this strike. One fan posted, “You won’t see many hit worse.”
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The two strikes come just the day after Youssouf M’Changama wet ‘full James Ward-Prowse’ with a stunning free-kick for Comoros.
Comoros became quickly the favorite neutral as the island national, ranked at 132nd in world rankings, advanced to the knockout round.
Comoros were also forced to field an outfielder between the sticks against Cameroon.
M’Changama’s win by 2-1 was not enough to make it memorable. However, M’Changama’s knuckleball was something that fans loved on social media.