Awful, tactless and clueless summed up Malawi National Football Team’s exit from the 2023 African Nations Championship (Chan) on away goal-rule following a goal-less draw against Mozambique at Zimpeto National Stadium in Maputo, Mozambique Sunday.
Mozambique booked a ticket to the Chan finals to be staged in Algeria next year after drawing 1-1 on aggregate.
The Flames needed a win or a draw of more than two goals but were sluggish in their approach of the game.
Probably, the only positive in yesterday’s match was that Flames defence comprising Miracle Gabeya, Paul Ndlovu, Stanley Sanudi and Gomezgani Chirwa was compact and helped goalkeeper Brighton Munthali keep a clean sheet.
But the hosts buoyed by their impressive home crowd settled quickly and gave the Flames plenty of problems in the early stages of the match.
They were looking for an early goal but wasted a glorious opportunity just a minute into the match.
After absorbing pressure, the Flames had two attempts.
Chiukepo Msowoya forced Mozambique goalkeeper Ernan Alberto Siluane to make a reflex save in the eighth minute of the match.
A minute later Schumacher Kuwali had his attempt saved by Siluane.
In the 19th minute, Chirwa made a good run from the left but there was no one in the box to connect his telling cross.
After 30 minutes, Mozambique had a chance to open the scoring but captain Isac Decarlho blasted the ball over the bar with only Munthali to beat.
After the break, Flames made a double change when they introduced Stain Davie and Patrick Mwaungulu for Chiukepo Msowoya and Schumacher Kuwali respectively.
The move brought some life into attack but they were unable to break Mambas defence of Francisco Muchanga, Ifren Matola, Martinho Alberto.
However, the Flames might feel they were hard done as two penalty appeals were turned down.
In bid to add power, Lloyd Njaliwa replaced Micium Mhone before Marinica made another double substitution as he introduced Gaddie Chirwa and Nickson Mwase for Yamikani Chester and Chimwemwe Idana.
But the Flames failed to find the back of the net.
After the match, Marinica admitted that his charges lost the plot in the first leg.
“Overall, we had fantastic matches against a very good team in both legs. But we failed to utilise our home ground advantage. Anyway, well deserved qualification for Mozambique,” Marinica said.
A visibly dejected Kuwali also rued missed chances in the first leg.
“We did everything but it was not our day. We made life difficult for ourselves in the first leg when we drew at home,” Kuwali.
After the match, the fans turned the facility into a theatre of celebrations.
Mozambique Coach Chinquinho Conde was the most happiest man.
Flames line up. Munthali, Sanudi, Ndlovu, Gabeya, Gomezgani Chirwa, Chikoti Chirwa, Micium Mhone, Chimwemwe Idana, Yamikani Chester, Kuwali and Msowoya.
Mozambique: Ernan Albeto, Ifren Matola, Danilo Muze, Amade Momade, Nelson Divrassone, Joao Bonde, Melito Alezandre, Isac Decalvahlo, Martinho.