LILONGWE--Ghana’s Black Stars Saturday, September 8, 2012 moved a giant step into the finals for South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after whipping Malawi’s Flames 2-0 in a first leg qualifier played at Accra Sports Stadium.
Playing the underdog against a star-studded Ghana side full of professional players, the Flames fell behind eight minutes into the game, when Porto FC striker Christian Atsu tapped the ball in from close after being set by Marseille midfielder Andre Ayew.
Osasuna midfielder Anthony Annan made it 2-0 in the 54 minute with a powerful striker from 20 yards out.
After Ghana’s second goal, Flames coach Kinnah Phiri made a double substitution, bringing in Robin Ngalande and Gabadinho Mhango for Peter Wadabwa and Frank Banda.
The Flames’ quest for a vital away goal suffered a major setback in the 83rd minute, when defender James Sangala was given marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Fearing for the worst, Kinnah pulled out striker Atusaye Nyondo replacing him with defender Pilirani Makupe,
Despite the 2-0 loss, the Flames mentor was adamant in an interview with Zodiac Broadcasting Station, insisting his charges can turn the tables in the return leg on October 12 in Lilongwe.
“Despite conceding a silly goal in the opening moments, we were on top of them in the first half and I’m hopeful that we can score three goals in the return leg and proceed to the finals,” said Kinnah.
Flames line up: Goalkeeper- Simplex Nthala, Defenders- Moses Chavula, Limbikani Mzava, James Sangala, Harry Nyirenda, Midfielders- Davie Banda, Joseph Kamwendo, Peter Wadabwa (Robin Ngalande), Frank Banda (Gabadinho Mhango) and Chimango Kayira, Striker- Atusaye Nyondo (Pilirani Makupe).