The Flames of Malawi slipped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Cranes of Uganda in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Meck Mwase maintained the starting eleven that defeated South Sudan on Wednesday at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The hosts started on the front foot immediately, putting the visitors under pressure but they were unable to find the opener as Brighton Munthali was very alert between the two sticks.
However, Malawi should have silenced the home fans in the 9th minute when Richard Mbulu was found unmarked in the penalty box only to shoot wide with Dennis Onyango to beat.
At the other end of the field, the Cranes almost got on the score sheet when Joseph Ochaya delivered a brilliant cross into Malawi’ penalty box as he was looking for Faruku Miya but Munthali was quick to come out to punch the ball away for a safety.
The visitors were leaving dangerously and they almost conceded in the 22nd minute when a good run from Emmanuel Okwi find Miya whose overhead kick went over the cross bar.
Malawi’s first shot at goal came in the 27th minute through Mbulu who was set through by Gomezgani Chirwa but the Baroka FC forward shot straight at Onyango.
The hosts were able to break the deadlock in the 29th minute when Chirwa failed to clear a long ball from the left to gift Okwi with a man to man situation against Munthali before slotting the ball into the net, 1-0.
Moments later, Uganda should have doubled their tally when Miya overpowered Lucky Malata before placing the ball beyond the advancing Munthali only to be denied by the cross-bar.
On the stroke of half time, Mwase brought in Chimango Kayira for Chimwemwe Idana who was struggling in the middle for Malawi.
The visitors missed their closest chance of the half when Gabadinho Mhango dribbled past two defenders before finding Mbulu in the box who blasted his effort wide off Onyango’s goal area.
After the recess, the hosts made their first change, introducing Allan Okelo for Luwaga Kizito.
In the 67th minute, the Cranes doubled their lead through Bato Aziz who capitalized on another defensive blunder to lob the ball over Munthali.
The goal forced Mwase to introduce Robin Ngalande for Gerald Phiri Jnr to try to force something out of the match.
The hosts were in total control of the match as Malawi failed to cope with the pressure exerted by the home fans, coupled with brilliant display of football from the hosts.
Mwase introduced Hassan Kajoke for Mhango while Taddeo Panga came in for Khalid Such.
The visitors tried their level best to reduce the arrears but the hosts stood firm to collect their first three points.
The result sees Uganda occupying the second position with four points from two games.
In other group B match, Burkina Faso registered a comfortable 2-0 win away to South Sudan to go top of the group.
Both Burkina Faso and Uganda have four points each while Malawi are third with three points, with South Sudan anchoring the table with no point from two games.