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Preview: Senegal vs. Malawi

Malawi are attempting to make it out of the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history, but the Flames will need a result against pre-tournament favorites Senegal on Tuesday when the teams meet for their final Group B fixture. Senegal expect to finish in first place in the group and will not be in the mood for charity, with manager Aliou Cissé declaring his intention to win against Malawi for an easier Round of 16 matchup.

Senegal are close to full strength after Covid-19 took its toll on the squad for the first two matches. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is back in training but it is not clear if he will be thrown back into the starting eleven for the Malawi match. If Mendy is kept out, Queens Park Rangers shot stopper Seny Dieng has performed quite well considering he had made only one appearance for the Teranga Lions heading into the 2021 AFCON. Striker Famara Diedhiou is another name back from Covid-19 infection, and appears poised to get his chance to secure the role of leading the line after Boulaye Dia’s failure to score so far. Manager Cissé will be looking for a complete performance in the match to build confidence heading into the knockout stages, and the possible return of Mendy and defensive leader Kalidou Koulibaly are boosts.

It has been an exciting tournament for Malawian supporters, whose team did them proud with a 2-1 victory over COSAFA rivals Zimbabwe on Friday. The return of flamboyant striker Frank “Gabadinho” Mhango provided an instant boost and killer instinct in the opposition penalty area as the Orlando Pirates marksman scored both goals. Malawi’s attack has been a pleasant surprise at the competition with Mhango and Dila Gori playmaker Francisco Madinga adding an element of unpredictability. Unfortunately for the Flames, captain and center back Limbikani Mzava appears to be doubtful as well as starting goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe. It is an exciting moment for Malawians and confidence is soaring among supporters as well as the players.

Check out the links below for more on both teams.

Malawi out to shock Senegal to secure last 16 spot (SuperSport)
Malawi v Senegal – Hopes in the air (CAF Online)
Match Facts – Malawi v Senegal (CAF Online)
CAN 2021 / Tous les 27 lions testés négatifs (Horizon 7)
Flames on the cusp of history (Malawi24)
Fiery flames dare ‘lions’ (The Times Group Malawi)

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