A late strike from the spot from Youssef Msakni was enough to hand Patrick Mabedi, his first home defeat as the Malawi National Football Team was beaten 1-0 by Tunisia in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at Bingu National Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Flames head coach Patrick Mabedi made only a single change to the side that defeated Liberia 1-0 in Monrovia on Friday by handing Wisdom Mpinganjira his first for Lanjesi Nkhoma.
The hosts had their first opportunity in the first minute when Lloyd Aaron’s long-range shot missed Ben Saidi’s right-hand post with an inch.
But from there onwards, the visitors dominated possession and made some dangerous moves into the enemy territory, but the defensive wall of Lawrence Chaziya, Dennis Chembezi, Tatenda M’balaka and Stanley Sanudi gave them no space to shoot at goal.
Flames Captain John Banda almost broke the deadlock in the 26th minute when he released a thunderous shot at goal which was well saved by Said for a corner kick which was easily defended by the visitors who had a height advantage over their opposition.
At the other end, Khenisi was set through by his captain Msakni into the penalty box. The forward fired at goal only to be denied by Brighton Munthali, who was in control of his penalty box.
At the other end, a diagonal ball from Mpinganjira into the penalty box found Banda unmarked. The veteran midfielder made the first-time connection only to see the ball rolling wide when Said was already beaten in the line of duty.
Despite creating these few chances, it was Tunisia who enjoyed massive possession and attacked with intent, but they couldn’t break the deadlock against a well-organized back four.
In the second half, Mabedi brought in Chifundo Mphasi, who scored on Friday, and Patrick Mwaungulu for Banda and Robert Saizi, who struggled against a very strong Tunisian right-back.
The coming in of Mphasi improved Malawi’s attacking prowess, but to create meaningful chances proved to be a very difficult side for Mabedi’s charges.
Christopher Kumwembe was brought in for Olson Kanjira while Firas Berni Arbu came in for Khenissi in attack for Jalel Kadri’ charges.
It was a game of fewer chances, but possession wise, the visitors were in full control, but they lacked the finishing composure in the final third due to Malawi’s stubbornness at the back.
Thrice, Munthali was called into action to stop three dangerous goal-bound shots when Malawi’ defense was caught napping in the line of duty.
The high pressing football from the visitors was a clear indication that it was just a matter of time before they found the back of the net by whichever way.
Indeed, they were able to break the deadlock in the 87th minute when Chaziya brought down Seifallah Ltaeif inside the penalty box and referee from Togo, Aklesso Gnama wasted no time by awarding them a penalty.
Msakni stepped up to slot the ball home, beating Munthali, who went the wrong way.
In the additional minutes, the Tunisians almost doubled their lead, but Munthali did a very recommendable job to avoid further damage and in the end, 1-0 it ended in favor of the visitors who are now topping Group H with six points from two games, level with Equatorial Guinea who also defeated Liberia on Monday.
The Flames are third in the standings with three points.