The same old story of conceding last goals has let the flames down as they lost 4-2 against Zambia in the semi finals of the COSAFA tournament in South Africa.
In a game flames interim coach Meke Mwase had trusted the team which won two games in the group stages and the team started on a good note as they took an early lead in the 2nd minute through a Gabadinho Mhango strike.
The early goal unsettled Zambia as they started playing under pressure searching for an equaliser but Enerst Kakhobwe in goals for Malawi was always alert with defenders Charles Pedro, Peter Cholopi, Stanley Sanudi and Precious Sambani providing the timely cover.
Gerald phiri jnr who started on the left flank of the midfield in place Duncan Nyoni was more creative supplying good balls to strikers Mhango and Richard Mbulu who were wasteful in front of goal that it was 1-0 at half time.
In the second half the flames came flat out on Zambia as they searched for more goals that it paid off in the 51st minute when Richard Mbulu was fouled in the penalty box for Gerald Phiri jnr to convert from the sport kick and give the flames a 2-0 lead.
Zambia instantly replied seven minutes later when Austin Muwowo shot from outside the box to beat Kakhobwe in goals and the goal gave Zambia hope for a come back that the flames were put under pressure.
Midway through the second half the flames introduced Chawanangwa Kaonga and Peter Banda for Micium Mhone and Richard Mbulu respectively before being forced to bring in Denis Chembezi for Charles Petro who got injured in the 80th minute.
With the game close to an end every one thought the flames will carry the day but a last minute blunder from goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe who miscues a Precious Sambani back pass saw Emmanuel Chabula scoring the easiest tap inn to make it level and force the game to penalties.
Zambia progressed to the semi finals of the tournament after converting four of their spot kicks while the flames only managed to score two from the spot with Chawananga Kaonga and Precious Sambani failing to score.
After the match flames coach Meke Mwase blamed the results on lack of maturity on his player.
“I am at pains to explain what happened there. I would simply say it was lack of maturity.
“At this level players should know how to handle pressure during such crucial minutes of the game.
“It’s hard to swallow it but now we will switch our focus to the plate”, Mwase said.
The flames will play against Comoros on Tuesday in the plate section, a thing they won in 2015 when they defeated Zambia.
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