Malawi turn the tables on Algeria

LUANDA - Algeria were handed a World Cup reality check when supposed minnows Malawi meted out a 3-0 thrashing to the Desert Foxes in the Africa Cup of Nations here yesterday.

Malawi were whipped 3-0 by Algeria on their only previous appearance in this competition 26 years ago.

But thanks to Russell Mwafulirwa, Ivis Kafoteka and Davie Banda, it was Algeria who were on the wrong side of a lopsided scoreline this time around.

After Sunday's 4-4 draw between Angola and Mali these three points put Malawi in a strong position to make it out of Group A and into the quarterfinals.

The game was held in a near ghostly silence, with all but a couple of hundred of the November 11 Stadium's shiny new 50000 seats vacant.

Mwafulirwa put Malawi into a 17th minute lead when the striker pounced on a mistake by Algeria keeper Faouzi Chaouchi.

Rafik Saifi could have levelled shortly thereafter but the Al-Khor midfielder's lob over Malawi stopper Swadick Sanudi went the wrong side of the crossbar.

On 35 minutes Malawi deservedly extended their advantage when Kafoteka's bullet header left Chaouchi bewildered.

The second half had just begun when Banda first hit the near post and then slammed the ball past Chaouchi on the rebound to turn the screw.

Malawi held on comfortably enough for their first win ever in the competition, which swept them to the top of the table with the hosts awaiting on Thursday. - Sapa-AFP