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Malawi obtain important point following scoreless draw with Senegal

Malawi did brilliantly to push 2021 Africa Cup of Nations favorite Senegal to the brink and get the result they desired, playing the Teranga Lions to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday. The Flames finish Group B play in third place on four points, which may be just enough to get Malawi through to the AFCON knockout stages for the first time in their history. Senegal finish as group winners but concerns remain over the team’s performance as they approach a Round of 16 matchup against a third-placed team from Group A, C or D.

The underdogs from Southern Africa had plenty of confidence going into Tuesday’s fixture, but the odds always appeared to be long with news that starting goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe and captain Limbikani Mzava would be unavailable. However, Malawi remained a threat throughout even as their more pedigreed Senegalese opponents dominated possession. Senegal star Sadio Mané nearly opened the scoring in the 7th minute, but after the Liverpool player scooped his shot over from close range it allowed Malawi to settle into the match with relative comfort.

Malawi saw the next couple of opportunities come their way in the first half. In the 16th minute, forward Khuda Muyaba had an open shot from 25 yards out that he hit cleanly but over the goal of Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy. After the half hour mark it was Flames star Frank “Gabadinho” Mhango who hit a free kick shot that deflected off Cheikhou Kouyaté in the Senegalese wall before bouncing just wide.

Senegal continued to struggle and Mané struggled to make an impact against the stubborn Malawian defense. Malawi goalkeeper Charles Thomu made his debut for the national team in the important match and did well to stay composed, but the defensive line and midfield in front him were outstanding in nullifying their star-studded opponents. In a largely uneventful second half, Malawi appeared to have a penalty kick opportunity in the 76th minute but following a Video Assistant Referee review it was judged that left back Gomegani Chirwa went down on his own accord rather than being pushed by Senegal right back Bouna Sarr.

The Flames celebrated an excellent result when the full time whistle blew but will still have to wait for the completion of all matches in group stage play before their status in the Round of 16 is confirmed. Highlights of the match are below as Senegal continues to struggle to reach the heights they are capable of.


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