The spirit of conceding in the late stages of matches was back again with full force when Malawi National Football Team gave away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Zimbabwe National Football Team in the 2021 COSAFA Cup in South Africa.
Malawi were hoping for a first win over their opponents in the competition and were very close until they conceded with eleven minutes to play in the encounter.
The Flames had taken a lead in the first half courtesy of Khuda Muyaba’s 27th minute strike before doubling their lead in the 50th minute through Schumaker Kuwali.
But the Warriors’ Blessings Sarupinda pulled one back in the 62nd minute before leveling the scoreline in the 79th minute through Patrik Ben Musaka who ensured that the two teams share one point each in Group B.
Meck Mwase had handed Mark Fodya and Vitumbiko Kumwenda their first starts to the team and this paid off when the duo were involved in the opening goal after exchanging passes which saw the latter finding Myaba inside the penalty box before unleashing a powerful low cross shot to beat Arubi in the near post, 1-0.
The Flames were in total control of the opening 35 minutes of the half but Kuwali wasted two glorious opportunities when scoring seemed to be easier than missing.
In the 42nd minute, Malawi were awarded a freekick just closer to the penalty box from which Fodya stepped up but the Silver Strikers left back opted to pass the ball to Kuwali instead of shooting at goal.
In the second half, Malawi doubled their lead in a brilliant fashion.
A move involving another debutant Muhammad Sulumba, Myaba and Idana released Kuwali to the left flank who wasted no time by shooting at goal to beat the advanced Arubi, 2-0.
The Flames thought the match was dead and buried only to concede in the 62nd minute after a relapse in defence which saw Nickson Nyasulu losing the ball to Karuru who shot at goal but Ernest Kakhobwe was equal to the task as he produced a double save only to see the ball landing on the foot of Sarupinda who had an easy task of just putting the ball into an empty net as there was no one from Malawi to prevent him from scoring, 2-1.
In the 73rd minute, Mwase opted for a triple substitution of Micium Mhone, Mike Mkwate and Ndaziona Chatsalira for the injured Sulumba, Idana and Kuwali.
Mhone almost scored with his first touch when his shot inside the 18-yard box was well saved by Arubi for a corner.
Just like in previous COSAFA Cup competitions, the spirit of conceding with less than ten minutes to play haunted the Flames who saw their 2-0 lead being cut to 2-2 in the 79th minute through a fantastic goal from Musaka who received a shot pass from a freekick to beat Kakhobwe who was let down by the defensive wall which had left the line even before the ball was rolled into action, 2-2.
The Zimbabweans almost scored the winner in the 84th minute but Kakhobwe was equal to the task to rescue the Flames with his fantastic save for a corner.
Towards the end of the match, Mwase brought in Zicco Mkanda for Myaba but it was too little too late as Malawi surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Zimbabwe ahead of their second game against Mozambique on Sunday.
A victory over the Warriors would have seen Malawi beating Zimbabwe for the first time in the competition’s history.