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Uganda completes AFCON qualifying meltdown with defeat to Malawi in Blantyre

A shocking downturn in Uganda’s form during the last months of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign confirmed their elimination on Monday with a 1-0 loss to Malawi. Baroka FC striker Richard Mbulu came up with another clutch goal for the Flames in Blantyre to confirm their third ever participation in the upcoming AFCON finals in Cameroon. It is a devastating blow to Uganda, who appeared to have qualification all but wrapped up with seven points from their opening three games, only to fail to score in the second half of their qualifying efforts.

The Cranes looked tense from the start and a lack of form in attack continued into their most important match. Malawi struggled to create goals throughout their campaign but were boosted by momentum from their crucial victory over South Sudan to set up the occasion and drove forward in their home confines. After showing threatening intent Malawi struck with precision in the 15th minute. Stanley Sanudi drove down the right flank and whipped in a cross that was headed into the Ugandan goal with venom by Mbulu.

Uganda were spurred into action by conceding early but there was a lack of focus and organization in attack as the Cranes flailed desperately to save qualification. Substitutes Allan Okello, Taddeo Lwanga and Yunus Sentamu were introduced early in the second half but the frustrations in attack continued. Malawi stayed composed and killed off the game with their trademark solid defense and some gamesmanship as Uganda failed to substantially threaten the Flames goal.

Due to the result Malawi qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations along with Burkina Faso from Group B. Highlights from the match are below.

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