African Friendlies: Malawi stun Togo, Benin edge past Equatorial Guinea

Claude Le Roy Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Richard Mbulu scored the only goal of the game in Agadir as Malawi stunned Togo in an international friendly on Monday, while Benin further improved their burgeoning reputation in the continental game with a 2-1 triumph over Equatorial Guinea.

Malawi, who were eliminated in the second round of World Cup qualifying after a 2-1 first-round defeat by Tanzania, were outclassed for long portions of the match played in neutral Morocco, but Emmanuel Adebayor and the Sparrow Harks weren't able to break down a resolute Flames defence.

Ronny Van Geneugden's side took the lead against the run of play in the 14th minute when Mozambique-based Mbulu - the winner of the 2016 Tanzanian top flight Golden Boot -- beat new Togolese stopper Sabirou Bassa Djeri to put Malawi.

Dove Wome and Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba had both been denied early on, but Claude Le Roy's side, who beat Niger 2-0 in a friendly last Thursday, ultimately ran out of options as they struggled for inspiration in the final third.

The victory draws to a close an impressive international break for Malawi, who secured a 1-1 draw with a home-based Moroccan XI last week.

Benin, who began their Africa Cup of Nations 2019 qualifying campaign with a 1-0 victory over The Gambia in June, again demonstrated their status as one of the continent's emerging forces with a 2-1 triumph in Malabo on Sunday.

A much-changed Benin side took the lead through APOEL hitman Mickael Pote just before half time, and added to their tally after the break when former Red Bull Salzburg wideman Jodel Dossou extended their lead.

Omar Ondo reduced arrears for the home side, who handed a debut to Espanyol's Saul Coco, but they weren't able to find an equaliser in front of their own fans.

Elsewhere, former Young Africans wideman Simon Msuva scored twice as Tanzania registered a 2-0 triumph against Botswana.