Malawi Under-20 national football team yesterday gave away a precious lead in late stages to draw two-all with Botswana, a result that damages their hopes of reaching the semi-finals at the Under-20 Cosafa Cup in Zambia.
After a dull first half at the Nkoloma Stadium, the match sparked into life later on with Malawi scored quick-fire goals through substitutes Lanjesi Nkhoma and Chinsinsi Maonga in website.a match streamed live on Cosafa
After beating Comoros 4-0 in their opening match, Malawi now has four points from two games Group A.
The Junior Flames coach went for a traditional 4-4-2 formation with hat-trick hero in the Comoros game Patrick Nyangulu leading the lines alongside Alick Lungu.
Like their opponents, Malawi did not settle as quickly as they should have ho with much of the ball being played around the central pitch.
Botswana should have led in the 15th minute when defender Lerona Modisaemang wrestled passed the young Flames defence. His shot, however, went agonisingly wide.
Malawi’s first meaningful chance came on the half hour mark when Nyangulu dangerously burst clear on the wing, but his potentially killer pass for Lungu was brilliantly cleared by the Botswana defence.
The opening half ended with Malawi dominating the exchanges as their opponents sat back relying on counterattack breaks. That said, there were no clear-cut from either side.
Mponda made early second half changes replacing Lungu with Lanjesi Nkhoma while Chinsinsi Maonga went in for Wisdom Mpinganjira probably to energise the attacking lines.
However, the young Flames conceded in the 52nd minute when Francisco Madingo lost possession to Godfrey Tauyatswala who clipped a pin-point cross to Phazha Chose.
The midfielder first headed attempt was saved by goalkeeper Emmanuel Kanthiti, but he could do little to stop the winger from converting the rebound.
Malawi responded by levelling the scores on the hour mark when substitute Nkhoma netted from a Maonga cornerkick.
Three minutes later, the Mponda boys turned the tables when Maonga steered them forward after tapping in another well-worked setpiece.
As the Botswana upped their attacking game, Malawi strengthened their defence by substituting Believe June for Clement Ndoyo.
But that did not save the junior Flames as they conceded an equaliser through Doctor David in the 80th minute to dampen their chances of reaching the semi-finals.
Mponda said he was disappointed that they could not hold on to the lead. His troops must now beat hosts Zambia to stand any chance of qualification.
“We will now focus on the Zambia game because that is going to be an exciting challenge. I believe that we can beat them and go through,” he said.
Botswana have now one point having lost to Zambia 5-0 in their opening match last week. They will face Comoros, in their final group match. Comoros also lost 2-0 to Zambia yesterday.