Flames gave Mo Sallah’s Egypt too much respect—coach Mario Marinica

After going down 0-2 in the first of the against Egypt on Friday in the back-to-back fixtures of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, Malawi national football team coach, Mario Marinica said his charges gave Mohamed Salah-led Pharaohs too much respect.

In a post-match interview that was reported on CAFonline, Marinica said: “Egypt is a big force but I think we gave them too much respect. We didn’t keep to our game plan in the first half.

Liverpool FC’s talisman Mohamed Salah scored first in the 20the minute

“We had planned to put pressure on them but we only did this in the second half. Egypt was the better team and a team with quality players like them, if you give them time and space, they will punish you,” he is quoted as saying.

The two sides face each other again in Match Day 4 at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe tomorrow (March 28) and Egypt’s coach — while pleased with the result, is quoted as saying he believes his side should have won with a bigger margin, on the balance of chances they got.

“We got many chances to score in the match, and we should have scored more and take advantage of our chances in front of goal. We had high possession of the ball in both halves and this is the identity I want to build for the Egyptian team.”

The Flames loss comes after their Saudi Arabia training camp and played at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo, CAFonline reports that Egypt got into the lead in the 20th minute through Liverpool FC’s talisman Mohamed Salah and was the chief engineer again when squaring the ball to Omar Marmoush — whose shot on the half volley was deflected by Charles Petro and dinked over the keeper.

CAFonline reports that in the second half, Malawi tried to tighten their spaces, but couldn’t mount any attacks that would threaten the Egyptian backline.

With the win, Egypt go top of Group D with six points while Malawi remain third with three. This is reportedly one of the closely contested groups, with second placed Guinea also having six points.

Guinea kept their hopes of a qualification ticket alive by beating Ethiopia 2-0, who pulled off a shock 2-0 win over Egypt in Match Day 2.

A report on Fam.mw says coach 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 while Gabadinho Mhango and Khuda Myaba combined upfront.

The visitors took control of the game as Malawi struggled to a string a number of passes and penetrate the opponent, says the report on Fam.mw adding that in the 20th minute, Hamady Sharaf set up Salah for the opening goal after a nice exchange of passes in final third, splitting Malawi 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 as 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 in some stability in 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 percent against Egypt’s 75.

Malawi moved to the bottom of table with three points while Egypt top the group with six points.

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