The Malawi National Football Team dropped two valuable points in their goalless draw against Burkina Faso in 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier played at Kamuzu Stadium on Monday afternoon, a result which saw them maintain their third position in Group B after South Sudan defeated Uganda 1-0 later in the day.
Flames head coach Meck Mwase made five changes to the side that lost 3-1 in Ouagadougou on Thursday last week.
It took 26 minutes for the Flames to create their first goal scoring opportunity through Charles Petro who saw his long range short well saved by Abdou Razack Traore.
The match lacked firepower as the midfield battle intensified, with John Banda and Gerald Phiri Jnr battling it out for possession with Cyrille Barros Bayala and Charles Kabore.
Richard Mbulu’s shot was well saved by Razack Traore in the 37th minute of the match.
With three minutes to go before the clock, Precious Sambani almost opened the scoreline but his header from a Peter Banda’s cross missed the upright with an inch.
In the second half, Mwase made a triple substitution, bringing on board Yamikani Chester, Duncan Nyoni and Vincent Nyangulu for Hassan Kajoke, Banda and John Banda as the Flames tried to push for the much needed goal.
At 57th minute, Mbulu forced his way into the box only to send his drive over the cross bar in an unbelievable circumstances.
The visitors were pressing harder for the opening goal, with Francis Lassina Traore’s shot well save by Ernest Kakhobwe who produced some series of fantastic saves in the half.
In the 73rd minute, Betrand Traore thought he had scored a goal but his header inside the penalty box went over the cross bar with Kakhobwe already beaten in the line of duty.
Malawi’s penalty shout in the 83rd minute was turned down by the referee Souleman Ahmed Djama who cautioned Richard Mbulu with a yellow card for a dangerous foul on Razack Traore.
Mwase was then forced to introduce Chimwemwe Idana for Charles Petro who dislocated his shoulder when he collided with Bayala in the middle of the pack.
The Flames of Malawi tried to push harder for the goal but Burkina Faso’s defence which was led by Abdoul Bandaog, Adamaguira, Adjiguesana Balora and Babayoure Abobacar was too stubborn to unlock and by the end of the 90 minutes, goalless it ended.
The result leaves Malawi in third with four points from four games while Burkina Faso takes the top position with eight points from the same number of games.
Speaking after the match, Mwase said: “It has been a great game for both teams. It’s just unfortunate that we failed to score regardless of the number of chances that we have had but the boys had a good game than the one we played away.
“What we need now is good preparation to win the remaining two games with South Sudan and Uganda,” he said.
In the other group B Match, South Sudan defeated Uganda 1-0. Malawi is still on position 3 with 4 points while Burkina Faso tops the table with 8 points. South is at the bottom with 3 points.