Malawi and the Central African Republic (CAR) registered opening round victories as the journey to the Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021 began in earnest on Wednesday evening. While Malawi won 1-0 at home against the Bright Stars of South Sudan, CAR were 2-0 winners against Burundi in Bangui.

Burundi who earned their first ever qualification to the Cup of Nations in Egypt 2019 started their campaign for a second consecutive appearance with a limp after going down away to the CAR.

Vianney Mabide opened the scores for the home side in the fifth minute before Louis Mafouta scored in stoppage time to hand them a favorable start in Group E with an away trip against Mauritania next week Tuesday awaiting.

Burundi will meanwhile host group favourites Morocco in Bujumbura on the same day as they look to put their campaign back on track.

Meanwhile in Blantyre, Gabadinho Mhango’s superb solo strike in the 68th minute earned The Flames a 1-0 victory at the Kamuzu Stadium as they got their wheels in Group B off to a winning start. Malawi is seeking a first qualification to the Nations Cup since 2010.

Mhango scored a superb goal when he drifted into the box from the left before striking a low shot that was pushed against the upright and into the net by South Sudanese keeper Majak Mawith.

The Flames were the better side in the encounter as they bossed possession with the forward line of Mhango, Yamikani Chester and Gerald Phiri Junior keeping the South Sudanese on their feet. Phiri had the first sniff at goal in the 4th minute with a long range shot flying over.

In the 27th minute, Phiri was gifted with the ball at the edge of the box after intercepting a short backpass but his shot flew straight to the keeper’s arms. Two minutes from the break, South Sudan had their first chance when Kenjok Wal Athiu picked the ball on the right but his flying shot was saved by the keeper.

The action intensified in the second half with Phiri coming close again with an effort straight from a corner that was turned behind by Mawith. The custodian made another great save in the 54th minute when he did well to save a Richard Mbulu effort from inside the box.

On the other end, South Sudan almost pulled one against the run of play when Stephen Pawaar Lony caught the keeper off his feet with a long range shot, but was denied by the bar.

Malawi took the cue and went more on attack, their reward coming 22 minutes from time with Mhango’s well taken goal. Chester almost doubled the tally few minutes later but his header off a corner went just wide.

Source: cafonline