Gabadinho Mhango of Malawi
Tuesday Jun 04, 2019. 21:31
Malawi edged Comoros 2-1 in their Cosafa Plate semifinal at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Tuesday night, setting up a final clash with South Africa on the weekend.
The Flames struck a late winner to overcome Les Coelacantes and secure a meeting with Bafana Bafana (who beat Uganda in the other Plate semifinal earlier in the evening) at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
Malawi dominated from the early minutes, but found Comoros goalkeeper Fahadi Mohamed a difficult man to get past. The Ngaya Clube shot-stopper denied the likes of Frank Mhango and John Banda with a string of excellent saves in the opening quarter.
On 24 minutes he was finally beaten by a fine shot direct from a free kick by Gerald Phiri Jr, but the upright came to Comoros’ rescue as the effort rebounded away to safety.
Finally, on the half-hour mark, the Flames claimed a much-deserved lead: Banda whipped in a cross from the right flank and Richard Mbulu got ahead of his marker to score with a looping header.
Malawi seemed to ease off after claiming the ascendancy and 16 minutes into the second half they were stunned by a Comoros equaliser: Elhaddad Hachim latched onto a poor headed clearance and sent a long-range shot into the back of the net – though it was with the help of a deflection off teammate Ali Nassim.
Malawi should have restored their lead on 65 minutes when another excellent free kick from Phiri picked out an unmarked Mbulu, but this time the striker’s header ballooned over the target.
With just under 10 minutes to play the Flames missed another fine scoring opportunity when a cross from the right flank found Mhango at the back post, but he too failed to get over his effort and direct it on target.
However, with penalties looming, Malawi stole the win with a goal from substitute Chikoti Chirwa in the 90th minute: the midfielder got on the end of a corner kick in a throng of bodies in the box and directed a header into the back of the net.
Comoros (0) 1 (Hachim 61’)
Malawi (1) 2 (Mbulu 30’, Chirwa 90’)
Comoros: Mohamed, Bakri, Malaga, Salim, Zamir, Hachim, Raidou, Nassim, Fassoiha (Nabil 63’), Chadhuli (Ibouniyamine 90+1’), Ibroihim
Malawi: Munthali, Sanudi, Petro, Cholopi, Sambani (Kaonga 71’), Mhone, Idana (Chirwa 69’), J. Banda, Phiri, Mbulu (P. Banda 74’), Mhango