Malawi’s Flames on Saturday played a goalless-draw against Botswana Zebras in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers first leg tie played in Francistown.
The return leg will be on Tuesday at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
This means any score draw will see Zebras progressing to the group stage courtesy of an away goal rule.
For Flames to progress, they need a win and a goalless draw will force the game to go into penalties.
Flames coach Meke Mwase discribed the result as fair.
“It was a tough game as expected knowing that we were playing away from home. We started on a slow note then picked up and I would like to thank the boys for working hard.”
“We created chances but failed to convert them into goals. We tried to get a goal but we failed,” he said.
His captain John CJ Banda asked fans to come in large number on Tuesday to give morale to the team.
“We thank God for the result. We did good in defending but we had lapse in attacking. I am appealing to fans to come in large number at Kamuzu Stadium to cheer us, so that we should get the positive result,”said Banda.
Flames had golden chances most notably in the last half but lacked the cutting-edge to claim an away goal.
Phiri was denied by the post from his trademark free kick with Botswana goal minder clearly beaten.
Zebras retaliated hitting the upright for the second time in the game with a thumping header.
The host could have took the lead in the dying stages as they beat ill timely off side trap but Munthali stood firm.
Mbulu nearly converted from close quarters with the last kick of the game.
Malawi won the last World Cup qualifier against Tanzania through a John Banda deflected shot but were knocked out from Russia 2018.