Flames lose to Equatorial Guinea in WC Campaign

Equatorial Guinea 1(Iban Edu Salvador 81’)

Malawi 0

The Flames suffered a 1-0 defeat against Equatorial Guinea away in Malabo on Monday afternoon in a 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier.

The team went into the match with high hopes and fully charged after a 3-1 win over Sao Tome and Principe in Lilongwe last Thursday.

Equatorial Guinea enjoyed possession for almost the whole first half with the Mabedi-led registering no shot on target as they kept on defending the attacks.

Iban Edu Salvador, Ganet Pablo and captain Akapo Martinez gave tough time to Dennis Chembezi and Nickson Mwase in the Flames’ defense. However, they were frustrated by the brilliant saves from Chikooka who denied then a number of opportunities with his brilliant saves and the first half ended goalless.

Head Coach Patrick Mabedi introduced Wisdom Mpinganjira and Chifundo Mphasi for Patrick Mwaungulu and Henri Kumwenda at the beginning of the final half and with these two, Malawi began attacking though not enough as the hosts were also good at the back.

At 61 minutes, Captain John Banda and Macdonald Lameck replaced Lanjesi Nkhoma and Chawanangwa Kaonga to balance up the team. Their introduction brought in a positive impact in the game with the Malawi registering shots on target but the efforts were not enough to find the back of the net.

With just 10 minutes to go, Equatorial Guinea won a free kick just outside the 18 yard box which was taken by Coco Bassey setting Edu Salvador to open the score.

Malawi tried all they could to level matters in the remaining minutes to no avail as it ended 1-0.

Speaking after the match, Mabedi said though the team had lost, there are some positives the team can take from the game.

“We were playing a good side and though we prepared to attack, we failed to do it in the first half because the ball was most of the times with our opponents and we needed to get it back by defending. When attacking, the boys were slow hence the ball being taken away from us.

“The boys did their best and they should be recommended for the job well done because if not for the hard work and determination, we could have conceded more goals.

“It’s so painful that they punished us towards the end of the match after holding them throughout but there are positives that we will take back home. Most of the boys we are using a very young and we are seeing improvements in each and every game for instance, goalkeeper George Chikooka and a few other players have performed beyond people’s expectations and this is something that we need to carry on going forward while working on the set-backs as we look forward to the next assignment”, said Mabedi

Following the loss, the Flames are fourth in Group H with six points while Tunisia lead the table with 10 points, seconded by Namibia with eight points while Liberia are third with seven points. Group leaders at the end of the campaign will automatically qualify for the global show piece.

Lineup: George Chikooka, Stanley Sanusi, Nickson Mwase, Chembezi Dennis (Lawrence Chaziya 90′), Tatenda M’balaka, Lloyd Aaron, Chimwemwe Idana, Patrick Mwaungulu (Widsom Mpinganjira 46′), Chawanangwa Kaonga(John Banda 60′), Lanjesi NNkhoma (Macdonald Lameck 60′), Henri Kumwenda (Chifundo Mphasi 46).

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