Malawi’s hopes toward the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals were dampened by a 2-0 loss to Ghana in Accra on Saturday.

The first leg of the final round qualifying tie between the two sides saw the Black Stars score goals through Chris Atsu and Anthony Annan, while the Flames had James Sangala sent off in the latter stages.

The hosts started off like a house on fire and opened the scoring in the eighth minute through Atsu.

Despite the early goal Malawi managed to stop Ghana for most of the game.

Only in the 51st minute did the Black Stars extend their lead, with Annan scoring a goal out of nothing to make it 2-0 and establish a buffer ahead of the second leg in Blantyre next month.

Malawi were reduced to 10 men in the last few minutes of the game after Sangala got a second caution with just under 10 minutes to play.

Malawi has a slim chance of turning the tie around if they win the tie in Blantyre.

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