Mohamed Salah scored once as Egypt thrashed hosts Malawi 4-0 in a Group C match of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Tuesday afternoon.
The win took the Pharaohs back to the summit of the group at par with Guinea who also have nine points from four games apiece, whereas Malawi chances hang by a thread.
The hosts’ under-fire coach Mario Marinica reacted to the 2-0 loss which the Flames suffered away to Egypt on Friday by making five chances to the starting line-up.
Stanley Sanudi, Alick Lungu, Peter Banda, Yamikani Chester and Stain Davie got the nod ahead of Gomezgani Chirwa, Chikoti Chirwa, Francisco Madinga, Micium Mhone and Khuda Muyaba.
Such changes paid no dividends for Malawi as Egypt scored barely four minutes into the game through Tariq Hamed.
A few minutes later, Banda left the pitch five minutes later after aggravating his injury and was replaced by Chimwemwe Idana.
Striker Davie wasted the Flames best chance to equalise after Gabadinho Mhango had put him through with a chip. The Silver Strikers man dragged his effort over the bar.
That miss proved costly as the visitors added the second goal in the 16th minute when Sanudi deflected his clearance of Egypt corner-kick on Omar Marmoush via into the net.
Four minutes later, Salah added the third goal with a low smart finish.
Egypt led 3-0 at half-time before Ahmed Sayed netted the fourth goal in the 49th minute.
Malawi have three points from three games and cannot afford yet another loss against the Pharaohs who have six points, three behind new leaders Guinea who beat Ethiopia 3-2 on Monday to make it a double.
The Flames will wind up their assignments by playing against Guinea at home and Ethiopia away.
Only two teams from the group will qualify for the AFCON finals in Ivory Coast.
Malawi: Charles Thom, Lawrence Chaziya, Chembezi Denis, Charles Petro, John Banda, Peter Banda, Yamikani Chester, Gabadinho Mhango, Stain Davie.
Egypt: Mohammed El-Shennawy, Ahmed Hegazy, Tariq Hamed, Omar Marmoush, Ahmed Sayed, Mohamed Salah, Mahmoud Awad, Mohamed Ahmed, Mohamed Sharafeldin, Mohamed Gamal, Mostafa Abdalla.
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