The Uganda Cranes have failed to qualify to third consecutive AFCON finals after they were defeated 1-0 at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre city on Monday evening.
Having drawn against Burkina Faso last week, Uganda came into this game with only one mission – avoid defeat and you seal a third consecutive AFCON finals berth, but they failed at it as they succumbed to early Richard Mbulu’s first half header.
The talisman rose high to head in Stanley Sanudi’s exquisite cross with a diving header past goalkeeper Denis Onyango in the 16th minutes.
Uganda’s best attempt in the first half came in the 18th minute when Emmanuel Okwi bullet shot was parried onto the upright by Flames’ goalie Ernest Kakhobwe
But before the half-time break, Uganda were delt a blow after Ronald Mukibi was taken off with an injury and he was replaced by Garvin Kizito.
After the introduction of Taddeo Lwanga and Allan Okello, the Uganda Cranes started dominated proceedings but struggled to create enough clear-cut chances.
Uganda’s best scoring chance in the second half came in the 57th minute when Ibrahim Orit missed a free-header off a well driven Joseph Ochaya’s cross on the left flank.
The Cranes’ deficit could have increased in the 71st minute but Onyango made an excellent save to deny Khuda Muyaba.
In the last 10 minutes, the Cranes’ intensified their raid onto the Malawi backline looking for an equaliser but the Flames stood firm to resist the Cranes’ pressures and win the game.
With the win today, Malawi have sealed their third AFCON berth in their history while Uganda have failed to qualify for their third consecutive AFCON finals after featuring at the 2017 and 2019 tourneys.