Malawi National football team (the Flames) are out of the 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers after they were held to a 1-all draw at home to Eswatini.
The Flames have exited the competition on away goal rule.
Caretaker coach Meke Mwase was forced to make some changes to the squad that drew 0-0 in the first leg, with Gastin Simkonda and Duncan Nyoni all given nods in the first eleven.
It was a dull encounter especially in the first opening minutes as both teams failed to settle down very quickly.
Malawi lacked coordination in the midfield to supply balls to Chiukepo Msowoya and Simkonda, who had no shot at goal in the first 30 minutes of the encounter.
After the half-hour mark, Eswatini had their closest chance through dangerman Gamedze Sandile who made his way into the box only to send his drive inches away from Ernest Kakhobwe’s goal area.
At the other end, Micium Mhone and Chimwemwe Idana combined well to release Simkonda who could only manage to fire over the cross bar from a close range.
As the first half was drawing to an end, Eswatini should have been 1-nil up when Sandile’s effort hit the upright after Malawi’s defense was caught sleeping on duty.
In the second half, the visitors took the lead just after five minutes through Sandile who scored a stunning goal outside the penalty box to silence the home fans who had hopes in their team, 1-0.
However, the lead only lasted for seven minutes as the hosts pulled level through Mhone.
A move was started by Stainley Sanudi to substitute Mike Mkwate who picked Mhone before slotting the ball past Mathabela Sandanezwe in goals for the visitors.
The Flames were now dominating, attacking from all cylinders but their striking force couldn’t put the ball into the back of the net.
Zicco Mkanda had to be introduced for Simkonda while Magagula Andy was brought in by the visitors to replace Matse Sifiso Mane.
The Flames kept on pushing for the much needed winning goal but no matter how hard they tried to find the back of the net, they could not break down the visitors’ defence for the second time and despite the referee adding six more minutes, Malawi could not find the winning goal and exited the competition on away goal rule.