Flames go down to Tunisia

Malawi’s unbeaten home record against Tunisia’s Eagles of Carthage has ended after the North Africans’ late Youssef Msakni penalty condemned the Flames to 0-1 a loss in Africa 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at Bingu Stadium in Lilongwe.
Tunisia netted the lone goal from the spot in the 87th minute after defender Lawrence Chaziya’s fouled Seifallah Ltaeif in the box, just when the home fans, who turned up in numbers to cheer on the Flames, thought the match would end in a stalemate.
The result was unfair for the Flames who did anything to keep Tunisia at bay.
In all fairness, the match was a balanced affair as the two sides took turns in launching attacks in each others’ territory.
The only difference was the penalty.
In the first half, Lloyd Aaron tried a long range shot to test the visitors goalkeeper but it missed the target by an inch.
Captain John Banda saw his low effort also saved by Tunisia keeper.
The visitors had their moment when an exchange between Khenisi and Msakni resulted in the skipper’s shot saved by Brighton Munthali.
Tunisia always looked dangerous going upfront and credit should go to Chaziya, Dennis Chembezi, Tatenda M’balaka and Stanley Sanudi for never giving the visitors respect.
Munthali in goals also did his job yo his best.
Malawi’s Wisdom Mpinganjira, troublesome as ever kept the visitors defence busy.
At one moment he orchestrated a lethal attack, forcing Tunisia to drop back, but his square pass to Banda could only result in a wide shot.
At half time, the two sides were still yet to break the deadlock.
Substitutions followed for both sides as the coaches opted for fresh legs.
Patrick Mabedi made a double substitution soon after recess bringing in Patrick Mwaungulu and Chifundo Mphasi for CJ Banda and Robert Saizi.
Later, Olson Kanjira made way for Christopher Kumwembe.
Jalel Kadri responded by bringing in Firas Berni Arbu for Khenissi while Sayfallah Ltaief replaced Aissa Laidouni.
By now the match had become a circus of flying tackles from both sides and tempers were visible.
The Togolese referee had to flash a couple of yellow card to control the tackles.
Idana was the first to get his followed by Kumwembe and Chaziya for Malawi while Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi  also went into the little yellow book.
 The visitors then broke the Flames supporters hearts with the late goal as Malawi succumbed to the relentless pressure.
Seven minutes were added on and to waste time Tunisia made late substitutions bringing in Haythem Jouini to replace Taha Khenissi while Hamza Jelassi for goal scorer Youssef Msakni.
Mabedi made the final change,  bringing in Lanjesi Nkhoma for Sanudi but it was too little too late.
With Namibia having beaten Sao Tome & Principe 2-0, this means they have replaced Malawi on third position  Malawi in Group H led by Equatorial Guinea while Tunisia are second.


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