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Cold Flames! Same old story! Booted out of CHAN

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THE story never changes. It remains the same in breaking the hearts of many who hope for miracles to happen in a national team that misfires in every competition it enters.

The Flames was at it again yesterday when it pathetically failed to utilise home ground advantage by turning on another comical display to crash out of the African Nations Championship after losing to Madagascar’s Barea 2-0 on aggregate.

The Indian Ocean islanders won 1-0 in Antananarivo during the first leg and only needed to defend the narrow result in yesterday’s match at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe to progress.

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But they took advantage of the underachieving Flames to repeat what they did at home to shame their opponents before their own fans. Needing a 2-0 victory in the match to advance to the next round, the Flames continued with their Mickey Mouse show and left many fans with many questions than answers.

Local football fans trooped out of the stadium crest-fallen. Some fans failed to cope with the exit from the competition and shed tears of sorrow. Probably, the journey back to their respective homes was a long for the local fans.

The Flames battled hard for the qualification but the visitors played organised football to frustrate the hosts. Flames Head Coach, Ronny Van Geneugden rang some changes to the squad that lost in Madagascar but he maintained the back four of Stanely Sanudi, Lucky Malata, John Lanjesi and Francis Mlimbika.

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He lived up to his pre-match talk when he played three strikers Binwell Katinji, Ishmael Thindwa and Manase Chiyesa with the attacking mentality whereas Joseph Kamwendo also started in place of Chimango Kaira who was relegated to the bench.

The Flames were shy in front of goal and failed to tick throughout the game. After wasting several scoring opportunities in the first half, the Flames were punished two minutes after recess when Rokotoarimalda Tsilavina outpaced Lucky Malata to fire a hard shot past Enerst Kakhobwe who was caught napping.

The Flames pressed for the equaliser but it never came as Madagascar deservedly got the result. The visitors played organised football to frustrate the hosts as the Flames fired blanks in three consecutive games.

The combination of Kamwendo and Banda in midfield failed to tick.  Thindwa suffered a knock and was replaced by Muhammad Sulumba. Sulumba and Katinji both missed clear chances.

In a post-match interview, Geneugden rued the missed chances. “The goal that Madagascar scored was a very serious hammer knock. In the first half, we had chances to score three or four goals.

When you create chances you have to score but the young team deserves credit because there is progress,” Geneugden said.

His opposite number, Raux Auguste, was delighted with the victory. “The match was very good and Malawi played well. They tried their tactics to disturb us but we came here to win and we are happy to qualify,” he said. Line ups; Malawi:

Enerst Kakhobwe, Sanudi, Malata, Lanjesi, Davie Banda, Kamwendo, Yamikani Chester, Chiyesa, Katinji, Thindwa. Madagascar – Rondrianasolo Donne, Monoelonstoa Namponia, Njakanirinia Tobisoa, Bakary Mario, rakotodrozoka Andoniqina, Raveloarisona Ardino, Bourdhim Jqotombo, Adrianarimanana Hasha, Vombola Bernard, Rokotoarimalda Tsilavina, Rafelombolasa Johny. Referee: Wisdom Chewe (Zambia).

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