The Flames of Malawi played their second consecutive game without scoring a goal at the 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup to draw 0-0 against Mauritius to earn their first point at the tournament.
Head coach Ronny Van Geneudgen made four changes to the squad that lost 2-nil to Tanzania on Sunday, with Innocent Bokosi, Levison Maganizo, Mecium Mhone and Ian Chinyama all coming in to replace Simeon Singa, Francis Mulimbika, Yamikani Chester and Lucky Malata.
The first chance of the match fell through to Mhone who forced Mauritius’s goalkeeper Kelvin Jean-Louis into making an early save for a corner.
The Flames continued to win ball possession in the middle of the park as Dalitso Sailesi, Chikoti Chirwa and Maganizo outsmarted Langue, Bell and Ballison.
However, to unlock the visitor’s defence proved too difficult as Jabulani Linje and Bokosi lacked the cutting edge inside the penalty box.
Mhone’ free kick was well cleared by Mauritius’s defence before another waste from Linje and after 45 minutes of play, goalless it remained.
Come second half, RVG was forced into making a substitute when left back Chinyama was injured when hr collided with Saranandif in an aerial combat and he was replaced by Mulimbika.
When the play was resumed, Malawi almost scored from a free kick when Lanjesi’ header was well saved by Jean-Louis.
Moments later, Bokosi had his header again well saved by Jean-Louis, who was the busiest on the as to compared to Ernest Kakhobwe in goals for Malawi.
With the clock fast approaching, RVG brought in Chester for Mhone.
Mauritius’s realistic chance was blocked by Lanjesi as they tried to punish Malawi from counter attacks.
Lanjesi was then booked following his challenge on Perticots to officially miss Flames’s final group A match against Angola.
As chances were being swindled, Linje wasted another golden opportunity when he successfully beat Rasolofonirira only to fire wide off the goal mouth.
Chester then made his way into the penalty box only to see his pass well blocked by the visitor’s defence.
The Flames pressed harder in order to break the deadlock but Mauritius’s defence stood firm to deny RVG’ men from collecting maximum points at the competition.
The result is a massive blow to Malawi who are still anchoring the log table with one game to play.
The Flames must beat Angola at all cost if they are to progress to the next round and at the same time, hoping for Tanzania and Angola to drop points.
Only group winner will make it to the quarterfinal stage where they will play host nation South Africa.