A youthful Malawi national football team could not hold on to a 2-0 second half lead as Chinese top league outfit Guangzhou fought from behind to hold the new look Flames 2-2 during a frindly international football match marking the official opening of Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe.
Playing before a 40,000 crowd that included Malawi`s head of state Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, the Flames took the lead after 34 minutes when Silver Strikers` forward Binwell Katinji scored from close range after a cross from Stanley Sanudi.
The Flames were two goals up 17 minutes after recess when Katinji dispossessed Guangzhou last man Jang Hyunsoo in the penalty box to score from close range.
Aftet conceding the second goal, Guangzhou mounted a heavy challenge on the hosts to reduce the arrears just after two minutes- courtesy of substitute Zeng Chao.
The Chinese were everywhere after the goal, stretching the young Flames from left, right and centre and their second goal from Xiao Zhi did not come as a surprise.
Sensing the imminent danger coach Gerald Phiri brought in several fresh pairs of legs and his youthful side managed to contain the pressure from the visitors up to the last whistle from Fifa referee Duncan Lengani.
Guangzhou Serbian coach Dragon Stojkovic described the two-all draw as a fair result for both teams.
“Malawi played better in the first half and we were the better side in the second half after making some changes. The result is fair for both teams,” said Stojkovic, who singled out Dalitso Sailesi as one of the most outstanding players in the Flames squad.
Flames Gerald Phiri said he was not disappointed with the performance of his young boys despite giving away the lead.
“We had a youthful team and it was the first time for most of the boys to play at this level. Though we gave away the lead I am impressed with the overall performance of the boys,” he said.