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Tanzania v Malawi Match Report, 13/06/2021

FT
2 - 0
TAN
MWI
J. Bocco (68)
I. Mwenda (75)
Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium
Tanzania 2-0 Malawi: Bocco leads the way as Taifa Stars extinguish the Flames
16:31 BST 13/06/2021
John Bocco scores for Tanzania.
The towering Simba forward back up his captaincy role by guiding his team to victory at Mkapa Stadium

Simba SC striker John Bocco was on target as Tanzania needed an improved second-half display to sink Malawi 2-0 in an international friendly at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on Sunday.

After a poor show in the first period which was dominated by the visitors, Bocco came through for Taifa Stars after he scored in the 69th minute, and substitute Israel Mwenda made it 2-0 from a beautifully taken free-kick in the 75th minute to earn coach Kim Poulsen his second win since taking over from Burundian Etienne Ndayiragije.

The 62-year-old tactician had already overseen three matches heading into the clash against the Flames, a friendly against Kenya where he lost 2-1 before falling by a solitary goal away to Equatorial Guinea in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and his only win, by a solitary goal as well, came at home over Libya in the aforementioned competition.

Missing the services of captain Mbwana Samatta, who plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey on loan from Aston Villa, and Simon Msuva, who turns out for Wydad Casablanca of Morroco for various reasons, the Danish coach decided to give Simba striker Bocco the armband and also the task to lead the attacking line.

Bocco, who has enjoyed a good run of results with Mainland Premier League champions since returning from injury was partnered alongside Yusuf Mhilu of Kagera Sugar while Simba goalkeeper Aishi Manula was handed a start ahead of veteran Juma Kaseja of Kagera Sugar and Metacha Mnata of Yanga SC.

The Flames, who missed the services of their head coach Meck Mwase after he tested positive for Covid-19 a day before the team departed Lilongwe, also handed a debut to defender Kieran Ngwenya, who turns out for Cove Rangers on loan from Scottish Premiership club Aberdeen, after the Football Association of Malawi completed the required processes for the player to play.

At first, it was difficult for Ngwenya to play for Malawi as he was holding British citizenship but having been cleared, assistant coach Bob Mpinganjira threw him straight into the starting XI with Silver Strikers goalkeeper Brighton Munthali starting between the sticks protected by defenders Stanley Sanudi and Dennis Chembezi.

It was Taifa Stars who started the game on the front foot with Salum Abubakar getting the first chance in the 5th minute but after beating Chembezi to the through ball, he took time to react in front of goal, and keeper Munthali came off his line to clear the danger.

The second chance for Taifa Stars came in the 10th minute when Mudathir Yahya combined well with Feisal Salum and Nickson Kibabage but this was after the latter laid a pass to Bocco, and the towering striker unleashed a weak effort which went inches wide.

Malawi then started to come into the game and in the 20th minute Peter Banda got their first chance to take the lead after being set up by Richard Mbulu but the Moldova-based winger’s shot kissed the bar.

In the 39th minute, Banda whipped in a ball from the left wing which Manula punched for the visitors' first corner of the game but from the resultant corner taken by Gabadinho Mhango, the ball was gathered by Manula, who jumped the highest to calm the danger.

Mbulu was once again set through by Banda in the 42nd minute as the Flames continued to raid the home nation but his effort landed in the hands of Manula.

The two teams went into the break tied at 0-0 but Malawi should feel undone as the wasted two open chances through Mhango and Mbulu.

In the 56th, the Flames got another free-kick from the edge of the box as Chimwemwe Idana was fouled by Shomari Kapombe but the resultant effort from the hardworking Mhango went over the bar.

Kapombe was later replaced by Patrick Mwenda after the foul on Idana as Taifa Stars tried to change their style of play to try and contain the marauding Flames' front two while Mpinganjira made his first substitution by bringing in Yamikani Chester for Khuda Muyaba.

In the 69th minute, Bocco rose the highest to head Tanzania ahead after a cross from Salum, and six minutes later they were 2-0 up after Mwendwa, who came on for Nyoni, scored through a brilliant free-kick which beat the wall and keeper Munthali into the net.

Despite Malawi making a double change in the 82nd minute which saw Gabadinho Mhango and Rafiq Namwera pave way for Tawonga Chimodzi and Vincent Nyangulu, Taifa Stars stayed firm at the back to keep the scoreline intact and protect their good run against the Flames at Mkapa Stadium.

Tanzania Starting X I: Aishi Manula, Shomari Kapombe, Mohamed Hussein, Dickson Job, Erasto Nyoni, Mudathir Yahya, Feisal Salum, Nickson Kibabage, John Bocco, Salum Abubakar, and Yusuf Mhilu.

Subs : Juma Kaseja, Metacha Mnata, Israel Mwendwa, Bakari Mwamnyeto, Kennedy Juma, Edward Manyama, Meshack Abraham, Iddi Suleiman, Ayub Lyanga, Mzamiru Yassin, Yohana Mkomola, Abdul Hamisi and Kibu Denisi.

Malawi starting XI : Brighton Munthali, Stanley Sanudi, Dennis Chembezi, Charles Petro, Kieran Ngwenya, Rafiq Namwera, Chimwemwe Idana, Peter Banda, Gabadinho Mhango, Khuda Muyaba and Richard Mbulu.