Despite the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Morocco’s Atlas Lions in Casablanca, Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) says he was impressed with his charges’ performance.
The Flames lost 3-0 in their second 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group B qualifier on Saturday night.
But RVG said the result was not a true reflection of the game although statistics show that the hosts dominated possession with 64 percent against Flames’ 36.
“The team kept good team discipline and workload and the result is not a good picture of the match.
“We played compact [and] very strict against Morocco which is one of the best teams in the world and one of the top teams in Africa,” he said.
RVG also said the group is still open as the Flames trail leaders Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions by a point.
Cameroon came from behind to hold Comoros 1-1 also on Saturday.
Malawi are now third in four-team the group. They are tied on three points with Morocco, but the latter has a better goal difference while Comoros anchor the group with a point.
RVG said they will build up on Saturday’s experience when they face Cameroon next month.
The Flames deployed 4-4-2 formation in the first half before switching to 4-3-3 in the second half.
Analysing his team’s performance, RVG said their plan went horribly wrong when they conceded an early goal through Hakim Ziyech.
“The game started very badly for us because after only two minutes, we were a goal down,” he said.
Morocco’s marksman Yousef En-Neysri went on to claim a brace to put the match beyond the Flames’ reach.
Flames captain Limbikani Mzava said much as they tried, they had a tall order considering the gap in class and stature.
“We did try and we punched above our weight but we were up against a good team. However, the race is still on and if we can win our second match against Cameroon, then we could stand a good chance,” he said.
“All the three goals were gifts and in defence we were poor. Every mistake we made led to a goal. We also had a few chances which we failed to ultilise. We could have done better.”