Malawi National Football Team’s dream of qualifying to the next round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers suffered a huge blow following a 3-0 loss to Ivory Coast at Orlando Stadium in South Africa Friday.
The defeat reduced Malawi’s chances in the campaign ahead of the reverse fixture in Benin on Monday.
This means the Flames are still third in Group D with three points, four points behind leaders Ivory Coast.
Malawi started the campaign with a 2-0 loss to Cameroon but beat Mozambique 1-0 in the second match.
Second-placed Cameroon and Mozambique were in action last night.
Max Alain Gradel, Ibrahim Sangare and Jeremiah Boga were on target for the Elephants. Gradel opened the scoring in the 36th minute of the first half when he capitalised on poor defending to unleash a powerful shot beating goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa.
Before the goal, Flames striker Gabadinho Mhango and Peter Banda also missed some good chances.
After the break, the Flames started well but also wasted two scoring opportunities. Mhango, with only the goal keeper to beat, he blasted the ball over the crossbar.
Another chance came to John Banda but Ivory Coast goalkeeper Sylyian Gbohouo was equal to the task.
The Elephants scored two goals in the last five minutes of the match.
Sangare scored in the 85th minute with a well taken shot before Boga sealed the victory for Ivory Coast in added time.
In post-match interview, Flames Coach Meck blamed the loss on poor preparations.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. We had no proper preparations. The boys were not the same. But now, we have to focus on the Monday match,” Mwase said.
Mwase made only one change to the side that beat Mozambique 1-0.
Striker Richard Mbulu fell sick at the eleventh hour and was replaced by Duncan Nyoni.
However, Mbulu was introduced as a second half substitute replacing Nyoni.
Flames suffered a big blow as Captain Limbikani Mzava was withdrawn due to injury. Peter Cholopi replaced him.
The two teams will also face each other at Mathieu Kerekou Stadium in Cotonou, Benin on Monday.
Malawi: Chipuwa, Stanly Sanudi, Charles Petro, Limbikani Mzava, Dennis Chembezi, John Banda, Gerald Phiri Junior, Duncan Nyoni, Peter Banda, Gabadinho Mhango, Khuda Muyaba.
Ivory Coast: Sylyian Gbohouo, Aurier, Diomande, Odion Kossonou, Willy Bolly, Hassan Kamara, Frankie Kessie, Ibrahim Sangare, Jean Kovassi, Max Gradel, Christian Kouame.