Malawi Women’s National Football Team failed to utilise home ground advantage as they drew 1-1 with Zambia in the first leg of a Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at Bingu National Stadium Wednesday.
The Scorchers have made life difficult for themselves ahead of the return leg slated for Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia, on Tuesday.
Malawi must beat the Copper Queens or force a scoring draw of more than one goal in the return leg to progress to the third and final round of the qualifiers.
On the other hand, Zambia just need a goalless stalemate to go through.
Malawi started yesterday’s match on a low note and were second on the ball for the better part of the first half.
Sabina Thom continued her scoring form for Malawi as she netted the equaliser in the 66th minute after Grace Chanda had given the Copper Queens the lead in the 20th minute.
Chanda had made amends for missing a penalty just four minutes into the match.
The Scorchers were a changed side after the break and displayed an improved performance. Coach McNebert Kazuwa brought in gangling striker Fazila Chiyembekezo for Rose Kabzere, who had a quiet debut.
The move paid dividends as Chiyembekezo brought life into the Scorchers’ attack. Thom got the equaliser when she got to the end of Asimenye Simwaka’s header.
The goal inspired the Scorchers to continue piling pressure on the visitors in search of a winning goal which never came.
Towards the end of the match, Zambia bombarded Malawi’s goal but Mhango brilliantly denied striker Rachel Kundananji on two occasions to end the match at 1-1.
Kazuwa said the return leg will be a different match.
“The battle is not over yet. We will fight for a win in Zambia. We still have chances of progressing to the next round of the competition,” Kazuwa said.
Zambia Coach Bruce Mwape said the result was not a true reflection of the match.
“We dominated the match but lacked the killer punch upfront, but we will work on our mistakes and make sure we win the return leg,” Mwape said.