Lilongwe — Saturday July 13 was another painful day for soccer lovers in Malawi as their beloved Flames lost against Zimbabwe in the quarterfinals of the COSAFA Cup through post match penalties.
Trailing from a first half goal, the Flames withstood the loss through a red card of James Sangala in the 44th Minute to equalise in the 88th minute and force the match straight into penalties.
Sangala who has become synonymous with red cards in recent matches, received his marching orders after getting a second bookable offence to the chargrin of new Flames Coach Tom Saintfeit who after the game said he thought the 'card was rather soft.'
Saintfeit made substitutions in the second half that had impacts bringing in Chiukepo Msowoya for Fisher Kondowe and Gasting Simkonda and Bernard Kaulesi for Jimmy Zakazaka and Young Chimodzi repectively.
It was no surprise then that Chiukepo was involved in most of the Flames forward moves in the box and it was his pressure from a bouncing ball that saw the Zimbabwe goal minder misjudge the ball and let in the ball credited as an own goal.
Come penalties, the Flames let themselves down as they scored only one penalty through Chiukepo with John Lanjesi, Gastin Simkonda and Bongani Kaipa missing.
Surprisingly all the senior players like Moses Chavula, captain Joseph Kamwendo who were expected to take the first penaltie to instill confidence in the follow ups were all not among the first penalty takers.
However tactically the Flames offered hope for better things to come as well as the fighting spirit to equalise while playing with ten men.
Malawi now go into the 'losers mini tournament' where they are expected to play next Tuesday against losers between Angola and Lesotho tomorrow.