Malawi National Football Team, the Flames have lost 2-0 to Egypt in TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations to gift the Pharaohs the top spot in Group D.
The Pharaohs scored both goals in the first half with Liverpool star Mohammed Salah on target in the 20th minute before he set up Omar Marmoush for the second one just before recess.
Flames Head Coach Mario Marinica opted for a 4-4-2 formation with the intention of avoiding conceding while pressing for goals.
Marinica trusted his first-choice goalkeeper Charles Thom while in the absence of suspended right-back Stanley Saudi, Charles Petro had to play in that position with Gomezgani Chirwa on up the left side.
Lawrence Chaziya and Denis Chembezi partnered in central defence with defending midfielder Chikoti Chirwa right in front of the two to form a triangular defence to protect Thom.
Captain John CJ Banda played as an attacking midfielder while Micium Mhone was on the right whereas Francisco Madinga was on the left wing.
Frank Gabadinho Mhango and Khuda Myaba combined upfront.
The visitors took control of the game as Malawi struggled to string a number of passes and penetrate the opponent.
In the 20th minute, Hamady Sharaf set up Salah for the opening goal after a nice exchange of passes in the final third, splitting Malawi’s defence.
The hosts continued pressing and just at a time everyone thought the first half would end as it was, Salah set up VfL Wolfsburg star Marmoush whose shot was deflected in beating Thom who had left his line.
However, there was an improvement in the second half after some changes.
Marinica brought in Stain Davie in place of Myaba while Peter Banda replaced Madinga.
However, Banda had to be pulled out due to an injury and replaced by Yamikani Chester.
Marinica also pulled out captain CJ and introduced Chimwemwe Idana.
The changes brought some stability to the Flames who managed to hold the hosts in the last stanza.
But it was still not enough as the Flames finished the match with no shot on target though possession improved to 25 per cent against Egypt’s 75.
The result means Malawi move to the bottom of the table with three points while Egypt top the group with six points.
Charles Thom (GK), Charles Petro, Dennis Chembezi, Lawrence Chaziya, Gomezgani Chirwa, Chikoti Chirwa, Madinga (Banda, Chester) Mhone (Idana), John CJ Banda (C), Myaba (Davie), Mhango