The Flames last night concluded a bad day for Malawi football after being trounced 3-1 by Burkina Faso in the first leg of the back-to-back 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Group H match at Stade du 4 in Ougadougou.
The loss came barely hours after Malawi women’s football team were massacred 6-2 by hosts and defending champions South Africa in the Cosafa Women’s Cup semi-finals.
Played under floodlights, Malawi fell to Ajax striker Lassina Traore’s second minute goal, according to Football Association of Malawi communication and competition director Gomezgani Zakazaka who watched from the touchline.
The hosts doubled the lead in the 26th minute when Traore got to the end of a fine cross to claim a brace.
Malawi restored hope in the 80th minute when Gerald Phiri Jnr converted from a penalty following a handball in the box.
However, the hosts dampened Malawi’s hopes of a comeback when Dabo Bryn also scored from the spot in the 87th minute.
Malawi had a golden chance in the 40th minute when defender Stanley Sanudi set through Nyasa Big Bullets midfielder Chimwemwe Idana whose effort was tamed by goalkeeper Babayore Sawadoge.
Sensing danger, Flames coach Meck Mwase substituted Schumacher Kuwali and Idana for Rafiq Namwera and Micium Mhone at the stroke of half time.
The hosts continued from where they left after recess and could have put the game beyond the Flames, but goalkeeper Bright Munthali denied Cyrille Bayala with a brilliant save.
In the 61st minute, Traore messed up an opportunity to claim a hat-trick when he missed his penalty kick. The penalty was awarded after defender Peter Cholopi tripped him.
Following the result, Malawi are third with three points from three games, Burkina Faso and Uganda are joint group leaders with seven points each.
In the other Group H match, Uganda beat South Sudan 1-0.
Malawi will host Burkina Faso for the second leg at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Monday.