Olympic Qualifier: Chawinga brace helps Malawi beat Harambee Starlets

Harambee Starlets v Kenya.
Ken Okaka (FKF).
The Kenyan team will have another chance to progress in the second leg scheduled for September 1

Malawi's She-Flames have defeated Harambee Starlets 3-2 in an Olympic qualifying first leg match at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday.

A brace from Tabitha Chiwanga and a goal from Madina Nguluwe handed the Malawians victory at home but Cynthia Shilwato and Janet Moraa scored two away goals which may prove vital for Kenya in the return leg on September 1.

Nguluwe scored the opening goal for the She-Flames in the 13th minute from a direct free kick taken from the left-hand side of Kenya's box.

Moraa Bundi almost doubled Malawi's lead in the 28th minute but Harambee Starlets goalkeeper Annette Kundu managed to clear the ball back into play under considerable pressure.

Kundu also denied the She-Flames another open chance in the 30th minute as the Malawian captain beat her marker before the Kenyan goalkeeper blocked her.

In the 32nd minute, Kenya's Shilwato hit the post with a long-range effort and the rebound was poorly directed. Shilwato then equalized for Harambee Starlets in the 34th minute from a long-range free-kick.

She-Flames captain Tabitha Chawinga scored from a brilliant solo effort thereafter. Chawinga managed to beat three Kenyan players after she was set through by her sister Temwa Chawinga in the 36th minute.

Chawinga got her brace when she successfully converted from the spot after Malawi had won a penalty in the 40th minute.

Nguluwe would have also bagged a brace if she was clinical with her 49th-minute chance after receiving a sumptuous cross from Chawinga.

Elizabeth Wambui was the culpable party when she missed a very open chance for Kenya in the 55th minute. Shilwato delivered a free-kick which the Malawian keeper parried onto Wambui's path but the Kenyan blasted over the bar with an almost empty net in front of her.

Article continues below

Mwanahalima Adam came close to scoring the second goal for Harambee Starlets in the 71st minute after Wambui put her through on goal. Then Adam's powerful shot ended up hitting the woodwork too.

Janet Moraa scored Kenya's second goal in the 81st minute after the Malawian backline failed to clear a shot on goal by Adam. Moraa just tapped in as the She-Flames defenders and the goalkeeper scrambled to clear the ball away.

The aggregate winner between the two nations will face Gabon or Ghana in the third round of qualifiers.