Tunisia held Malawi to frustrating goalless draw

Tunisia held Malawi to a frustrating goalless draw as their resolute defensive performance kept the Flames attacking talents at bay in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match played at Kamuzu Stadium, Blantyre.

It was disappointing one for Malawi fans who thronged the stadium in their national colours mostly shinning with red.

The result means Malawi and Tunisia have 11 points in Group K going into the final round of matches in October.

Flames: Frustrated to a barren draw

Malawi go away to Chad on October 8 who are sitting out this round of matches whilst Tunisia have a home game against Togo.

It was a frustrating afternoon for the Flames who only sparked for 10 minutes in the first half and let Tunisia run the show for the better part of the game.

The Flames failed to sparkle and played disjointed football at times, failing to express themselves on the ball and failing to keep the supply lines open.

The midfield of Davie Banda, Robert Ng’ambi, Atusaye Nyondo and Frank Banda struggled to contain the tactically superior Tunisians who enjoyed the exchanges.

With the early injury of stand-in captain Esau Kanyenda, the Flames were not good enough to grab maximum points. Kanyenda got injured in a challenge with an opponent as they fought in an aerial combat.

Chiukepo Msowoya replaced Kanyenda but Tunisia keep things tight and tidy at the back as  Tunisia’s man of-the-match sweeper Walid Hichri heavily policed Msowoya forcing Malawi to rely on long range attempts.

The only close chance that the team created was Frank Banda’s long range shot that was well taken care of by the goalkeeper.

A catalogue of free kicks and corner kicks yielded nothing to boast about after 90 minutes.

After the game, Coach Kinnah Phiri cut a despairing figure and conceded that his troops struggled but says Malawi still has the chances to qualify.

“It wasn’t our day, the guys didn’t play well but we will still keep up our head up and hope we will qualify on the final day,” he told reporters.

Botswana have already qualified as group winners but with five teams in the pool, the runners-up are also guaranteed a place at the finals.

Malawi, Tunisia line up at Kamuzu Stadium before sharing the spoils. Photo: Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

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