Flames rekindled

  • Storm into Plate final after seeing off Comoros

Malawi national football team, the Flames are in Cosafa Cup Plate final after seeing off Comoros 2-1 yesterday at Princess Magogo Stadium.

Flames’ South Africa-based supporters on cloud nine after Chirwa’s goal

The result has lifted the spirits of the team after a disappointing loss to Zambia in the quarter-finals in which Malawi conceded an equaliser in added on time to give away a two-goal lead and went on to lose 4-2 on post-match penalties.

After the added on time gaffe by Ernest Kakhobwe, coach Meke Mwase cracked the whip on the Nyasa Big Bullets goalkeeper by relegating him to the bench.

Apart from Brightone Munthali, who replaced Kakhobwe, Mwase maintained the other on field players.

Right back Stanley Sanudi, centre backs Peter Cholopi, Charles Petro and left back Precious Sambani, the supplier of the ill-fated back pass to Kakhobwe, played in defence.

Winger Micium Mhone, holding midfielder Chimwemwe Idana, and captain John CJ Banda and Gerald Phiri also retained their positions in midfield while upfront Richard Mbulu and joint top goal-scorer Gabadinho Mhango returned to duty.

After facing heavy criticism for the loss to the Zambians, the Flames were visibly hoping to make amends.

They bombarded the islanders with 18 shots on goal, six of them on target against Comoros’ 10, forcing their goalkeeper Mohamed Zamir to make some timely saves.

Within 20 minutes the goalkeeper had denied Gabadinho twice and CJ Banda once while Phiri Jnr’s 35-metre set piece hit the post.

But the goalie could not keep out a powerful header from Mbulu who rose to meet a searching cross from CJ Banda in the 30th minute.

The islanders closest chance in the first-half was when goalkeeper Munthali was forced to leave his area to clear the ball after his defence allowed Comoros’ to launch an attack and the Silver goalie did well although he ended up getting a yellow card.

But Malawi’s Flames simmered in the second-half as they allowed Comoros to crawl back onto the game.

Comoros got an equaliser in the 61st minute when Sanudi cleared a cross towards advancing Elhaddad Hachim and his low shot was deflected into the net beating Munthali.

But Malawi hit the islanders where it hurt most with 90th minute winner through substitute Chikoti Chirwa.

The Red Lions holding midfielder glided in a well-taken corner kick from Phiri Jnr to take Malawi to the Plate final to meet South Africa who earlier defeated Uganda on post-match penalties.

“This is what we wanted most. We wanted to be in the Plate final and here we are. We are ready to meet South Africa,” said Mwase in post-match interview with SuperSport.

Malawi last won the Plate, which is a race of losing quarter-finalists, in 2015 after beating Zambia.

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