Flames finish AFCON qualifiers unbeaten at home

The Malawi national football team held Morocco to a goalless draw at Bingu National Stadium and finished the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign without conceding and losing at home.

The Flames weathered the early storm as the visitors battled to take the lead but the back four of John Lanjesi, Peter Cholopi Gomezgani Chirwa and Stanley Sanudi did well to contain the pressure.

Part of the game between Morocco and Malawi

Goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe was also alert enough to deal with the attempts from winger Oussama Idriss and Ayoung Elkaabi.

Malawi recovered from the early scare and initiated own attacking moves with the best chance landing on South Africa based Gabadinho Mhango who used his skill to chip the ball over his opponent but his shot rolled across the face of the goal.

Rains started soon after the second half kickoff forcing both sides into cautious mood as they played a much slower game to avoid weather-provoked mistakes.

Scoring opportunities were far and tight as both teams seemed content with closing shop to savage a point.

Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden later substituted Mhango and striker Khuda Muyaba for Binwell Katinji and Micium Mhone respectively in a bid to add power upfront but goals did not come by.

Malawi survived a late scare as the Atlas Lions substitute Rachid Alioui hit the crossbar and foot of the upright in double free-kick attempts.

Morocco have finished top of Group B and automatically qualify for the finals in Egypt while Malawi have finished fourth.

Geneugden praised his boys for a good fight saying Morocco is not an ordinary team.

“We played much better in the first half; very disciplined and mature. Eighty five percent of the players that played today are in off-season. However, they did well against a team that I regard as the best in Africa,” he said.

Morocco coach Herve Renard said he was pleased to take a point from the Flames.

“It is always difficult to play Malawi at their home because they play direct football. So getting a draw isn’t a bad result for us,” he said.

Malawi Line Up (4-4-2)

Ernest Kakhobwe; Gomezgani Chirwa, Stanley Sanudi, John Lanjesi, Peter Cholopi; Chikoti Chirwa, John Banda, Gerald Keith Phiri, Gabadinho Mhango (Katinji 62’), Yamikani Chester, Khuda Ike Muyaba (Micium Mhone  72’)

Substitutes: Richard Zipola Chipuwa, Ian Chinyama, Micium Mhone, Felix Zulu, Schumacher Kuwali, Binwel Rahim Katinji, Stain Davie.