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Nooij starts with barren draw

Nooij, who was taking charge of his first game with the Tanzanian outfit since replacing Kim Poulsen, could not inspire his much-changed Stars side to victory as Malawi put in a rock-solid defensive display.

The Dutchman, who watched from the stands when his team suffered a soul-searching 3-0 defeat to Burundi in their previous build-up match in Dar es Salaam a week ago, will apparently take positives from the stalemate after witnessing an improved performance.

Expectedly the Dutch trainer made a host of changes to the squad that lost to Burundi and selected a more experienced side, with the likes of Nadir Haroub, Shomari Kapombe, Erasto Nyoni and John Bocco all named in the starting line-up.

Custodian Deo Munishi cemented his position in the starting eleven with another fine performance between the posts while Ramadhani Singano and Simon Msuva were given another chance to impress on the flanks. Taifa Stars started brightly and slightly edged the first half in terms of possession and the number of chances created.

Bocco, Msuva, Singano and Aggrey Morris all wasted a couple of good opportunities in the opening half. Malawi’s John Banda, who was a constant threat in the Stars defence, went close in a few occasions. The two teams cancelled each other out with the first half ending in a goalless draw.

Malawi started the second half strongly thanks to a double substitution by coach Young Chimodzi and Stars Nadir Haroub was forced into making a goal-line clearance to stop the Flames from going ahead.

Deogratius Chilambo attempted a clever shot from distance but was unlucky to see his effort bounce off the woodwork with Munishi well beaten.

The towering Bocco was inches away from giving the Stars the lead in the 65th minute as he picked up the ball outside the box and let loose with a pile-driver that hit the post.

Morris could have notched a memorable screamer after the Azam defender unleashed a thunderbolt from over 40 yards out that narrowly missed the target.

Nooij reshuffled his side as he replaced Nyoni with Himid Mao while Msuva gave way to Haruna Chanongo deep into the second half. Still the Stars could not price open the Flames tight defence.

Rodrick Gonani beat Taifa Stars defensive duo of Nadir and Morris and drew a fine save from onrushing Munishi after 78 minutes.

Late changes by Stars saw Frank Domayo and then Singano retired to the bench with Kelvin Friday and Hamis Mcha respectively thrown to the fray.

With minutes ticking to the end, Chanongo tried his luck as he attempted a decent distant short that however flew inches wide.

The match formed part of Taifa Stars’ preparations ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers preliminary round double header against Zimbabwe.

Taifa Stars will host the first leg in two weeks time at the National Stadium, with the return leg due a fortnight later in Harare. The winner of the match will face the winner between Mozambique and Sudan, with the first leg match to be played between July 18 and 20 while the return leg will be played two weeks later.

Malawi coach Chimodzi also used the match to weigh up their squad prior to the kick of the preliminary rounds of AFCON qualifiers.

The Flames have been paired against Chad in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers second round following the preliminary round and group stage draw held in Cairo, Egypt a week ago.

YOUNG African head coach Luc Eymael has said ...

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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