Flames will not be present at the 2018 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) after their faint hopes of qualification were extinguished on Saturday at Bingu National Stadium.
Madagascar produced a stunning performance to record another 1-0 victory over Malawi in the 2018 preliminary second leg CHAN qualifier and progress to the second preliminary on a 2-nil goal aggregate.
Ronny Van Geneugden made four changes to the squad that lost the first game, with Ishmael Thindwa and Binwel Katinji playing upfront in a 4-4-2 formation.
Joseph Kamwendo and Dave Banda were operating in the middle of the park while the back four remained unchanged.
Just when everybody thought the hosts would be playing with anger, it was the visitors who were tactically good as they pressurized their opponents.
Just minutes into the half, Thindwa was substituted for Muhammad Sulumba after sustaining a knee injury.
Of all the eleven players on the pitch, it was Yamikani Chester who played with his lungs out as he kept on tormenting Madagascar’s defence.
Malawi’s first chance of the day fell to Chester whose effort was blocked by Monoelonstoa Namponia.
Minutes later, Malawi had a penalty shout turned down by the Zambian referee.
Sulumba should have put the Flames in front but his shot lacked venom, allowing Rondrianasolo Donne in goals for the Berea Stars to collect the ball with ease.
At the other end, Rafelombolasa Johnny had his effort well saved by Ernest Kakhobwe in goals for the hosts and it was goalless at half time.
In the second half, it only took Madagascar two minutes to find the back of the net.
Lucky Malata was outsmarted by Rokotoarimaldla Tsilavina’s pace before the Madagascar player released a thunderbolt that caught Kakhobwe napping in the line of duty into the top corner, 1-0.
Van Geneugden introduced Chimango Kayira for Banda as the Flames pushed for the much needed goals.
Katinji almost pulled level but he failed to connect well from Sulumba’s low cross drive into the box, allowing Madagascar to clear the danger away for a corner.
Moments later, Njakanirina Tubisoa had to block Sulumba’s drive before another miss by Katinji who was missing every opportunity created by the depleted Flames.
The Berea Stars then launched a stunning counter hurricane attack from the wings only to be denied by Malata for a corner.
Dalitso Sailesi was then brought in for Kamwendo in the middle of the park.
Katinji had another opportunity to atleast put the game on level but he was caught sleeping with only the goalkeeper to beat and after the final whistle, it was the visitors who progressed to another round where they will play against Mozambique.
As for the hosts, their journey in CHAN is over.