Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves striker Patrick Mwaungulu on Wednesday scored a hat-trick to help Malawi get off to a perfect start at the Under-20 Cosafa Championship at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia with a perfect 4-0 victory over Comoros.
Mwaungulu’s hat-trick, the first at the regional youth championship, and another goal from midfielder Francisco Madinga have rekindled Malawi’s dream of making it past the group stage for the first time since 2010.
In a match monitored on Cosafa Television, the teenage striker scored the first goal in the 27th minute after a well-coordinated move that culminated in Madinga laying it down for the striker to dribble past two defenders before putting it beyond Comoros goalkeeper Ahmed Fadjidou at the far post.
Madinga made it 2-0 when he headed in a cross from Henry Chiwaya in the 57th minute after Malawi had exchanged 10 neat passes from the midfield.
The Impressive Mwaungulu made it a brace in the 65th minute. This time he connected a low cross from Chiwaya at the near post.
But Comoros ignored the goals and fought on though they could not unlock Malawi defence marshalled by captain HadjiWali.
The islanders had a couple of opportunities to test Malawi goalkeeper Emmanuel Kanthiti, but he was well covered by the defence.
Still hungry for goals, coach Peter Mponda pulled out Lanjesi Nkhoma for AlickLungu.
However, Lungu only played for 10 minutes before being taken out and was replaced by Chinsinsi Maonga.
Mwaungulu struck again in the 90th minute in goal-mouth melee, to hand Malawi a comfortable lead at the top of Group A.
Mponda was over the moon in a post-match interview with Cosafa Television.
“At the beginning we were failing to penetrate them. We changed our system and managed to score those goals. It was not easy, but we stuck to our game plan and got those goals. Credit should also go to my counterpart from Comoros. He really did well to frustrate us in the early stages,” he said.
Commenting on his decision to pull out a player he had just introduced as a substitute, Mponda said: “When you are on the bench you watch what is happening and when you go in, you are supposed to do what you are told. He was always off-side, so I had to pull him out because we wanted more goals.”
Mwaungulu was named man-of-the-match, an achievement he said has motivated him to work hard.
“I always want to be better so I work hard. I am glad to win the man of the match award,” he said.