Two goals which were conceded in the preliminary first leg of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Tanzania on Wednesday proved too costly as Malawi were dumped out of the competition after failing to score three goals past the Taifa Stars in the second leg tie at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Blue Eagles’s John Banda had given the Flames a lead in the 42nd minute but Ernest Mtawali’s boys failed to find the much needed goal in the entire second half to exit the competition in a painful way.
Mtawali made two changes to the squad that lost on Wednesday, bringing in Chiukepo Msowoya and Shumaker Kuwali upfront.
Two minutes into the game, Mbwana Samata had his first shot at goal but Simplex Nthala was equal to the task.
At the other end, Banda tested Alli Mustafa in goals for the visitors who made a fantastic save to deny the Blue Eagles play maker from giving his side a lead.
Few minutes later, Banda released another thunderbolt but Mustafa once again proved too difficult to beat as he cleared the danger for a corner.
Kuwali then caused havoc with the Tanzanian defence on the edge of the box only to shoot straight into the hands of Mustafa.
However, the visitors almost scored when Flames keeper Nthala left his line of duty, allowing Samata to shoot at goal but the TP Mazembe winger was very unfortunate as his effort missed the goal mouth with an inch.
With 3 minutes to go before the interval, Malawi got their lead.
Msowoya dribbled past the visitors defence to find Banda who shot high past Mustafa in the Tanzanian goal, 1-0.
Few minutes later, Msowoya header went straight into the hands of Mustafa from a corner which was played by Gerald Phiri Jnr.
Coming into the second half, the Flames failed to play their normal game as the midfield which was better in the first half failed to keep possession.
Isaac Kaliyati and Gabadinho Mhango were introduced mid-way into the half but it was Kaliyati who made an impact.
It took more than 20 minutes for the home team to have their first shot at goal into the half. Banda’s volley just outside the penalty box was saved by Mustafa who was very outstanding between the two sticks.
Tempers were flying high as Flames captain Limbikani Mzava and Kuwali were cautioned together with Mudathir Yahya and Farid Musa.
Malawi had another chance from a free kick but Mzava, who was on course to put the ball into the back of the net, was denied by Haji Mingwali for a corner.
The Flames failed to put the ball into the back of the net from a close range when Kaliyati’s brilliant corner was missed by Msowoya and Kuwali who were unmarked in the box.
Malawi had their final chance from another set piece but there was nobody in the penalty box to put the ball into the back of the net and after 90 minutes of play, it ended 1-0 nil in favor of Malawi but not enough to send them through as they went down 2-1 on goal aggregate.
The result sees Tanzania progressing through to the second preliminary round where they will play Algeria and the winner from that stage will progress into the group stages of the final qualifying phase.
This was the final match for Malawi at Kamuzu Stadium following reports that the newly built Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe will be completed before the end of this year.