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Classy Mwase guides Flames top despite making nine changes

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By Mphatso Malidadi:

FOCUSING ON NEXT MATCH—Mwase

Malawi national football team got a test and some food for thought ahead of Sunday’s Cosafa Cup quarterfinal against Zambia after Mozambique snatched a late goal to force a 1-1 draw at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban, South Africa, Thursday.

Following the draw, Malawi finished Group B with seven points from three games whereas Mozambique ended on third position with two points.

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Second-placed Namibia beat Seychelles 3-0 to cement their position with six points while Seychelles anchor the table with a point.

Despite being a dead-rubber, both teams gave their all in the match, with energetic and transitional attacking football.

As promised, Flames interim Coach, Meke Mwase, made nine changes to the team that started against Namibia and Seychelles.

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Defenders Peter Cholopi and Precious Sambani were the only survivors.

Malawi were slow and played too deep in the first 15 minutes but managed to contain pressure.

The Flames were forced into an early substitution after Gomezgani Chirwa picked an injury and was replaced by Stanley Sanudi.

Hassan Kajoke, on his first start for the Flames, was gifted a goal following a blunder by Mozambique’s goalkeeper who spilled a Peter Banda corner-kick in the 32nd minute.

The Malawians were buoyed by some noisy supporters to take control of the game and attacked and defended as a unit.

After recess, Mozambique had some decent chances but Munthali and his defence were equal to the task.

As Mozambique made changes in search of an equaliser, Mwase also responded by first introducing John Banda for Mike Mkwate, before substituting Peter Banda for Gabadinho Mhango.

But it was Mozambique who benefitted from their substitutions as they scored from a cornerkick. It was Munthali who had misjudged the flight of the ball to allow Jeitoso to get an equaliser.

Gerald Phiri Jnr was named Man-of the-Match after leading the onslaught from the midfield.

Mwase said he had faith in his changed squad.

“This campaign has been very exciting. We have not been doing well lately, so we are happy to finish on top of our group. We have a very important game against Zambia and some of our players needed rest. Zambia have been giving us problems but we will prepare for them,” he said.

Mozambique Coach, Abel Xavier, said his charges deserved more than just a point following an outstanding display in the second half.

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