The Flames have wrapped up their 2022 Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup with a 2-0 victory over Mauritius at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa.
The results means the Flames have finished third in Group B with four points.
The Flames lost 2-1 to Lesotho and drew one-all against Eswatini in the second match to bow out if the race.
Eswatini, who beat Lesotho 2-0 earlier in the other group’s match at King Zwelithini Stadium, have finished as the group’s winners and will face guests Senegal in the quarter-finals.
After a slow start, Malawi’s Flames featuring mostly fringe players started controlling the game.
Man of the match Simba FC’s Peter Banda and Nyasa Big Bullets Patrick Mwaungulu on the wings, supplied plenty of crosses into the box looking for Chiukepo Msowoya and Stein Davie.
But the Flames’ lack of precision betrayed them as the first half ended goalless.
Coach Mario Marinica made three changes at half time, bringing in Lloyd Njaliwa, Khuda Myaba and Micium Mhone to replace Chiukepo Msowoya, Patrick Mwawungulu and Chimwemwe Idana.
The substitution added more fire and in the 52nd minute Sanudi put the Flames in the driving seat after pouncing on rebound from a Peter Banda free kick which hit man wall.
Fully aware that a single goal lead is never enough, Mario urged his charges to get another goal.
He also added more fire power upfront bringing in AmaZulu striker Gabadinho Mhango to replace Stein Davie.
The substitution helped as Mhango provided the assist for the second goal as he set up another substitute Mhone from a corner kick in the 88th minute.
The match ended with the Flames still hungry for a third goal.
In post match interview Marinica said he was glad that his game plan worked.
He also praised the fringe players who were given a chance.
The coach rested left Precious Sambani, Gabadinho Mhango, captain John Banda, Khuda Myaba who started in the matches against Lesotho and Eswastini.
But he trusted Nyasa Big Bullets goalkeeper Clever Mkungula, Mafco centre back Paul Ndhlovu, Civo’s Kelvin Kadzinje and debutant Daniel Chimbalanga.
Nyasa Big Bullets attacking midfielder Mwaungulu and Banda also started while Lloyd Njaliwa came in as a substitute and did not disappoint.
Malawi First XI.
Clever Mkungula (GK), Stanley Sanudi, Paul Ndhlovu, Kelvin Kadzinje, Daniel Chimbalanga, Chikoti Chirwa, Chimwemwe Idana, Patrick Mwaungulu, Peter Banda, Stein Davie, Chiukepo Msowoya
Out: Stein Davie