By Erik Chiputula:
The Flames have suffered a 3-0 defeat against Côte d’Ivoire in a game played at Malawi’s home ground, Orlando Stadium in South Africa.
This was Malawi’s biggest home defeats in recent years.
Malawi looked disjointed from the start, as Sergi Aurie was allowed time and space to pick out Max Gradel at 35 minutes for the left winger to send a powerful shot into the net.
Before Ivory Coast opener, Peter Banda had a chance to put Malawi ahead after 15 minutes of play as he dribbled past three defenders, but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper for a corner.
Moments later, the Flames came closer to score through Gabadinho Mhango who made a good run from the left into the box, and again his shot was deflected by the legs of Bolly.
Khuda Myaba had his first shot on target three minutes after the break but it was cleared by Cote d’Ivoire goalie Sylyian Gbohouo for a corner.
After that it was a scrappy and boring match, for about 20 minutes Ivory Coast tried to frustrate Malawi with some delaying tactics and it was very difficult for the home side to complete a number of passes and create chances.
Ivory Coast brought in former Arsenal attacker Gervinho who changed the pace of the game.
Operating from the right flank was managing to deriver some dangerous passes into the box and his opponent Denis Chembezi was unable to stop him from penetrating.
Flames faithfuls grew more frustrations as Malawi continued to give the balls away when they were two down on 84th minutes.
It was Gervinho who dribbled past John Banda before releasing a pass for Ibrahim Sangare to make an easy finish.
Jeremy Boga completed Malawi humiliation as his shot from outside the box beat advanced Richard Chipuwa in goals to make it 3-0.
The result means Ivory Coast have seven points seconded by Cameroon who have three points. Malawi comes third with three while Mozambique stays at the bottom with a single point.
The return fixture between Malawi and Cote d’Ivoire will be played next week Monday in Benin, the home for Ivory coast.