Liverpool star Mohamed Salah was on target as Egypt beat Malawi 2-0 at Defence Force Stadium on Friday to go top of the Group C of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Salah put the Pharaohs ahead with a smart first time shot past Malawi goalkeeper Charles Thom before defender Charles Petro’s own goal sealed the win one minute into added time for first-half.
Malawi coach Mario Marinica fielded a pragmatic system loading the midfield with defensive Chikoti Chirwa, John Banda while benching playmaker Chimwemwe Idana.
Such an approach did little to stifle the hosts as Salah was granted acres of space outside the box and he duly seized the opportunity to fire the ball into the net in the 20th minute.
It was Salah’s 40th goal in 86 appearances for Salah and more can be expected on March 28 when Malawi welcome the Egyptians in Lilongwe in the return leg.
One goal soon became two as Petro deflected the ball into his own net one minute while trying to clear a shot at a time Malawi were under immense pressure as they hardly had a sniff of the ball.
Malawi coach Mario Marinica started the second half with changes, pulling out Khuda Myaba for Staine Davie whereas Francisco Madinga paved the way for Peter Banda.
Banda lasted barely eight minutes after he got injured and was replaced by Yamikani Chester whose impact was limited in the wide area.
Davie fluffed Malawi’s carefully crafted chance when he misjudged the flight of Gabadinho Mhango’s freekick which went out of play in the 69th minute.
The Silver Strikers man Davie turned and flashed another effort off target. That proved to be the only chance for the Flames who have three points from three games whereas the Pharaohs have six points.
Guinea were taking on Ethiopia in a later kick off with both teams going into the game on three points apiece. Malawi welcomes Egypt in Lilongwe on March 28 2023.
Egypt: Mohammed El-Shennawy, Mohamed Hani, Mohamed Abdel Moneim, Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed Hamdi, Tariq Hamed, Mahmoud Hamada, Mohamed Salah, Omar Marmoush, Ahmed Sayed, Mustafa Muhammad
Malawi: Charles Thom, Lawrence Chaziya, Chembezi Denis, Gomezgani Chirwa, Charles Petro, Chikoti Chirwa, Miciam Mhone, John Banda, Francisco Madinga (Peter Banda, Yamikani Chester), Gabadinho Mhango, Khuda Muyaba (Stain Davie).
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