The Flames are out of the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup after a 3-0 loss in post-match penalties to Lesotho’s Likuena in a pulsating semi-final at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban South Africa.
The two sides were tied at 1-1 after regulation time, but Lesotho’s goaltender Mosoeu Seahlolo was the toast of the day after saving three Flames’ penalties.
Scores of Durban-based vocal Malawians were kept on the edge of their seats as events infolded in dramatic fashion at the stadium situated in Umlazi Township on the outskirts of Durban the capital of KwaZulu-Natal Province.
The semi-final was billed to be a cracker and it lived up to expectation.
For a good part of the first half, the match was a see-saw with the two sides taking turns in launching attacks.
Malawi used their usual attacking formation.
Patrick Mwaungulu and Lanjesi Nkhoma orchestrated the moves from the wings while Chimwemwe Idana penetrated from the middle.
On occasions, fullbacks Stanley Sanudi and Alick Lungu had to surge forward to supplement the supply.
Likuena were dangerous with their diamond shape attack formation of Lisema Lebokollane, Thabo Lesoaoana, Tsoarelo Bereng and Jane Thabanso.
Lesotho drew first blood in the 17th minute when Mokhachane got the better of Lungu and sent a fine cross inside for Thabanso to drill home.
Malawi recovered quickly and levelled in the 23rd minute from the spot after Lesotho player blocked Nkhoma’s shot with his hand.
Tempers flared towards the end of the first half and tackles flew all around as Lesotho targeted Kaonga and Mwaungulu.
Lesotho’s Motlomelo Mkwanazi was sent off just before half time after a second yellow card.
But the Flames failed to utilise the numeric advantage.
In post-match penalties, Lesotho goalkeeper saved all Malawi’s three penalties taken by Sanudi, Idana and Patrck Macheso.
Likuena converted theirs through Sekhoane Moerane, Thabantso and Sera Motebang as substitute goalkeeper Vincent Nyasulu, who replaced Brighton Munthali, failed to stop any of the Suthu’s spot-kicks.
In a post-match interview, Mabedi said his charges relaxed after the red card to Lesotho.
“But it’s s always dangerous when you are playing a team that are a man less,” he said