Marian Mario Marinica suffered his worst defeat as Flames head coach this afternoon when his charges were hammered 4-0 by Egypt to put Flames’ 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in jeopardy with two games left to play.
Coming straight from their 2-0 first leg defeat in Cairo on Saturday last week, Marinica made five changes to his side by handing starts to Peter Banda, Alick Lungu, Yamikani Chester, Stain Davie and Stanley Sanudi.
With a 4-3-3 formation, many expected Malawi to attack with caution and to concede less but it was the opposite as they found themselves 3-0 down before the recess as the Egyptians attacked from all angles and dominated the proceedings from the word go.
Five minutes into the opening half, Mahmoud Hamad Amad gave the visitors a lead with a thunderous deflected shot right on the edge of the box to beat Charles Thom in the line of duty, 0-1.
The hosts suffered a major setback in the 6th minute when Banda was substituted for Chimwemwe Idana after sustaining an injury to his shoulder.
The Flames had a chance to pull level in the 10th minute when a long ball from the midfield found Davie unmarked inside the six-yard box but the Silver Strikers forward volleyed over the crossbar when slotting the ball inside the net looked more easier than missing.
The Pharaohs were 2-0 up soon after the quarter-hour mark when the hosts failed to defend a corner and allowed Omar Marmoush to tap in from the close range following a defensive mistake from Lawrence Chaziya,0-2.
The visitors put the match beyond Malawi’s reach in the 21st minute through Liverpool forward Muhammad Salah.
The striker orchestrated a move from the right when he exchanged passes with Mostafa Aballa before hitting the ball with power to beat Thom who could only see the ball rolling into the net, 0-3.
In the second half, the Flames started brightly and they should have had a goal in the 48th minute when Idana created shooting space before releasing a powerful shot which was well cleared by Mostafa Muhammad.
Moments later, Davie had his 22-yards powerful shot well saved by substitute goalkeeper Mohamed Daader for a corner kick which was easily defended by the visitors.
But just when everybody thought the hosts were now beginning to pressurize the Egyptians, Ahmed Mohamed Sayed scored a fourth goal from the close range following a defensive mistake from Chaziya who allowed the striker to tap in as he responded late to a brilliant cross from the right.
Of all the four goals scored by the visitors, Mo Salah was involved in three goals, showing why he is considered as one of the deadliest strikers in the football world.
Marinica made a triple substitution in the 68th minute when he brought in Brighton Munthali, Gaddie Chirwa and Micium Mhone for Thom, Davie and Idana to try to get something out of the match.
The Egyptians should have had their fifth goal when Awad send in a very dangerous pass which Sayed missed from the close range.
With less than ten minutes left to play, it was now a dancing time for the visitors who are now just a point away from making it to Ivory Coast.
As for Malawi, the defeat means it’s almost over as they will need to win the remaining two games and hope to see either Egypt or Guinea drop points in the final two games.
Malawi are bottom of Group D with three points from four games having conceded eight goals and scored only two.
They will play Guinea at home before concluding the qualifying matches with an away trip to Ethiopia.