Same old story, same old Malawi. 42 steps apart in the FIFA rankings but the Flames could not manage to beat Mauritius in the 2018 Cosafa Cup as they went down 1-0 to put their quarterfinal hopes in jeopardy.
Despite fielding a well experienced starting eleven, Ronny Van Geneugden’s side failed to outsmart their opponents who defended jealously to put one leg into the last eight of the competition.
The Flames dominated possession but their passing football had no impact as they failed to attack especially in the first half.
Mauritius had their first attempt on goal just three minutes into the half, forcing Brighton Munthali into producing a double save.
However, Munthali’s stubbornness couldn’t last long as Club M Les Dodos found the back of the net in a brilliant fashion when Malawi’s defence was caught napping.
From there, Mauritius opted to play a defensive football in order to defend their lead, resulting into Malawi exerting pressure but Richard Mbulu and Robin Ngalande were not sharp enough to find the much needed goal.
Come second half, RVG’s men continued to dominate but lacked the finishing composure as Mbulu and Ngalande failed to unlock Les Dodos’ defence.
Precious Sambani, who had a brilliant game, had his shot well saved by Mauritius’s shot-stopper.
With 20 minutes to play, Chiukepo Msowoya came in for Rafick Namwera and the Bullets forward missed probably the closest chance in the half when he blasted his effort wide from a close range.
Moments later, Les Dodos denied the Flames a chance to equalize when they cleared the ball before crossing the line.
RVG had to throw his last dice of the day when he introduced Patrick Phiri for Dalitso Sailesi.
The former Premier Bet Wizards forward made some brilliant moves but it was too late to save the sinking ship as Malawi played their fourth game at Cosafa without scoring a goal, having exited the tournament last year without scoring a goal.
Their next match is on Wednesday against Botswana where a victory is a must if they are to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive.
Earlier on in the same group B, Botswana were 1-0 winners over Angola.
The group winner will progress to the quarterfinals where they will play Zimbabwe.