In a five goal thriller, the Junior Flames opened their Group A campaign at the under 20 Cosafa Youth Championship with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Swaziland at Arthur Davies Stadium in Zambia.
The Junior Flames started brightly, with Levison Maganizo, Mike Mkwate and Peter Banda pressing hard in search for the opening goal but Lukhele in goals for the visitors produced some series of good saves to keep his team into the game.
However, despite Lukhele’s resilience, Malawi made no mistake through Banda who got the opener to put his team in front, 1-0.
The Junior Flames were in full control of the match, winning ball possession but failed to increase their lead as Lukhele was very outstanding between Swaziland’s goal posts.
With 20 minutes to play,
Maganizo and Banda combined well in a one to one situation to release Patrick Phiri whose shot missed the goal mouth with an inch.
Come second half, it was Swaziland who came out very strong through Dlamini and Mamba in search for the equalizer.
The defining moment came just after 10 minutes into the half when the visitors leveled the scores following some poor defending by the hosts’ defence.
However, Malawi restored their lead through Phiri when Swaziland defence was caught napping in the line of duty.
Malawi’s lead only lasted for five minutes as the visitors leveled again from the spot.
Swaziland were coming wave after wave as they were looking for the winning goal but lacked the finishing composure in front of goals.
Despite Swaziland’s domination, they found themselves down again when Phiri scored his second goal of the day from a rebound with a powerful header following Banda’s free kick which came off the woodwork, 3-2.
The visitors tried their level best to force something out of the game but Malawi stood firm to collect full points with Phiri being named man of the match.
The Junior Flames will face defending champions Zambia in another epic encounter.