Harare — LAST year's losing finalists Mozambique kept alive their hopes of securing their first Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup title when they became the first team to book their place in the semi-finals after dispatching Malawi at Rufaro yesterday.
The Mambas, who lost to South Africa in last year's final in Mpumalanga, will now meet Zambia's Chipolopolo in the semi-finals at Barbourfields on Thursday.
Chipolopolo edged the Brave Warriors by a similar margin in a later game at the same venue.
The goal that sealed the game for the Mambas came in the 34th minute when midfielder Josemar Machaisse struck with a beautiful effort, which was initiated by Jeremias Sitoe who exchanged passes with Carlos Chimonale before setting up the former who had sneaked into the box.
Machaisse, who had a fine afternoon and won the hearts of the appreciative fans in the stadium was duly named Man of the match.
Yesterday's victory also meant that the Mambas reached the Cosafa semi-final for the third time in the history of the competition.
They first progressed to the semi-finals in 2004 after beating Madagascar and Malawi in earlier rounds but lost to Angola.
Yesterday's game was the third meeting between the Mambas and the Flames.But just like their previous two meetings, it was the Mozambicans who dominated having won their clash 2-1 in 2000 in Blantyre before another showdown in Maputo yielded a 2-0 win for the Mambas.
Their latest showdown at Rufaro was a balanced affair but it was the Mambas who were the first to settle and threatening to get a goal in the ninth minute when Helder Pelembe got to the end of a fine pass by Jeremias Sitoe but he blazed his effort wide.
Mozambique continued with their probing and ensured Flames goalkeeper Charles Swini was the busier man.
Swini was forced to make two crucial saves within a minute as Mozambique piled on the pressure.
But the Flames crept back into the game with some positive build-ups. However it was Mozambique who were rewarded for their efforts when they struck the goal that was to prove he winner in the 34th minute.
After the break Malawi who are coached by their former great Kinnah Phiri came back a better side but they wasted too many chances.
In the 60th minute the Flames had a chance to level terms when Maupo Msowoya sent in a good cross but striker Chiukepo Msowoya failed to make any contact with the ball when he could have easily tapped it home, sending a good chance begging. Seven minutes later David Banda also set up Victor Phiri but the Flames substitute forward shot weakly at The Mambas goalkeeper Albino Cossa. As Mozambique appeared to tire, the Malawians upped the pressure but they lacked precision and became the first team to be eliminated from the last eight.
Malawi: C. Swini, C. Kanyenda, C. Msowoya, I. Nundwe, D. Banda, H. Nyirenda, P. Mgangira (V. Phiri 65th minute), M. Msowoya, H. Mwakasungula, V. Nyirenda, P. Mwehiwa (J. Chipoya 54th minute).
Mozambique: A. Cossa, M. Hagi, E. Sitoe, A. Cumaio, J. Sitoe (D. Muchele 73rd minute), C. Chimonale, C. Parruque, J. Machaisse, H. Pelembe, F. Massingue, S. Chapanga.