The pre-tournament favourites will look to step up a level as Group B concludes at the Africa Cup of Nations this afternoon.
As Africa’s highest-ranked team and with a star-studded squad boasting the likes of Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, much was expected from the beaten 2019 finalists in Cameroon.
However, Aliou Cisse’s Lions of Teranga have yet to impress at this AFCON, with a last-gasp win over Zimbabwe followed by a tame goalless draw with Guinea.
While four points will surely already be enough to see them safely into the last-16, Senegal will want to ensure they win the group and drive some momentum before the knockout stages.
Guinea face Zimbabwe at the same time, so any further slip-ups will surely be punished.
Malawi are not out of the competition yet and could even top the group themselves if they beat Senegal and Guinea do not overcome Zimbabwe, though that seems a tall order.
The Flames are appearing at AFCON for only the third time and have never before been past the group stage, though confidence will be high after they followed a narrow defeat by Guinea with a win over Zimbabwe.
Follow Malawi vs Senegal LIVE with Standard Sport’s blog below!
Malawi vs Senegal latest news
OVERTURNED! Malawi denied penalty after VAR review
How to watch: Sky Sports
Senegal team news: Mendy, Koulibaly and Gueye all return
Malawi team news: Three changes with Kakhobwe ruled out
18:14 , Matt Verri
Senegal moved into the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations but it was another disappointing performance as they drew 0-0 with Malawi.
Sadio Mane’s penalty against Zimbabwe is the only goal Senegal managed in the group stage, but they progress as Group B winners despite failing to yet click into top gear.
Malawi may join them, finishing third in the group with four points. It could have been much more for them, but a late VAR review overturned the referee’s decision to award a penalty.
How it finishes in Group B
18:07 , Matt Verri
Senegal through as group winners. They finish on five points, with just one goal across the three matches.
Guinea also into the last-16, as runners-up. Naby Keita pulled a goal back for them but they were beaten by Zimbabwe, who finish bottom with three points.
Decent chance that Malawi’s four points is enough to send them through as one of the best third-placed teams.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 18, 2022
17:49 , Matt Verri
Malawi 0-0 Senegal
And it finishes goalless. Senegal through to the last 16 as group winners, but plenty for them to improve on in the knockout stages.
With four points, Malawi are certainly in with a shout of making it through as one of the best third-placed teams. They’ll have to wait and see for that though.
17:47 , Matt Verri
90 mins: Three minutes added on.
Still time for one last chance... for either side.
17:45 , Matt Verri
89 mins: Malawi clear and can they now break?
Huge crossfield pass towards Mhango, but he’s not that quick. Out of play for a goal-kick, and Senegal are straight back on the attack.
17:43 , Matt Verri
86 mins: That was nearly Senegal’s moment!
Long ball, Diedhiou with a lovely first-touch on his chest and then volleys it at goal. Straight at Thomu, who is still limping around.
That was great play from Diedhiou.
17:40 , Matt Verri
"The Malawi reaction tells you everything" 😫
After a trip to the VAR monitor the referee overturns his original decision! NO PENALTY ❌ pic.twitter.com/lqIhWdh9jT
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 18, 2022
17:39 , Matt Verri
83 mins: Corner for Senegal... can they find a late winner? Goalkeeper Thom is into the book - not entirely sure what that’s for.
Sarr takes it and it’s over everyone in the box. Not what Senegal needed.
17:38 , Matt Verri
81 mins: Senegal still going through as group winners as it stands, despite another below-par performance.
Things would be looking very nervy had that penalty decision gone against them.
17:34 , Matt Verri
78 mins: No penalty, no free-kick. Senegal very fortunate to survive.
Thomu down in goal for Malawi as he comes to claim a cross. Didn’t collide with anyone, must have landed awkwardly.
17:32 , Matt Verri
Well, the referee is over to look at the monitor. Often means the decision will be overturned.
Wasn’t a huge amount of contact from Sarr, but he definitely pulled Chirwa back. Did it continue into the box?
NO. Decision has been overturned and the Malawi players drop to their knees.
17:31 , Matt Verri
Malawi have a penalty as Chirwa is brought down in the box. Sarr had a hold of him, and Chirwa goes down in the box.
VAR checking though...
17:29 , Matt Verri
73 mins: Things open up for Mbulu 25 yards out and he can’t resist a long-range strike. Doesn’t trouble Mendy.
Senegal not able to put the constant pressure on the Malawi defence that they were earlier in the half.
17:27 , Matt Verri
70 mins: Mhango drifts out to the left and it’s played wide to him. He moves it down the line to Mbulu, who has been brought on for Malawi.
Goes down, wants a free-kick. Nothing given.
17:25 , Matt Verri
68 mins: Sanudi makes a great tackle to stop Ciss bursting away after Mane played the ball through. Offside flag then goes up anyway.
Malawi on the attack for pretty much the first time this half, but Koulibaly is well positioned in the box to volley the cross away.
17:22 , Matt Verri
66 mins: Mane has it in the box and just about evades a stretching leg... Malawi don’t want to make too many lunging tackles like that though.
The Liverpool man clips it into the six-yard box, but it’s headed away.
17:20 , Matt Verri
64 mins: Mane wants the ball slid through to him, but it’s well intercepted.
Dieng then tries to play a clever pass through a number of Malawi shirt... there’s no space for that.
17:19 , Matt Verri
62 mins: Dieng on for Diallo, Senegal making a change up front.
They’ve been impressive since the break, but Malawi just about keeping them at bay for now.
17:15 , Matt Verri
59 mins: Gueye goes for goal himself and Thomu tips it over the bar. Comfortable enough saved but he is mobbed by his teammates who are feeling very generous with their praise.
Corner is cleared away at the near post.
17:14 , Matt Verri
58 mins: Late challenge from Chaziya, as he flies into Mane. Yellow card.
Wasn’t a great ball from Ciss, slightly too much on it, but that encouraged Chaziya to think he could get there and Mane just poked it away from him.
Great angle for a right footer to swing this into the box.
17:12 , Matt Verri
56 mins: Ball bouncing 25 yards out, and Mhango tries a very optimistic half-volley. Blocked.
Senegal break with pace and Dia knocks it past a couple of defenders, but a good challenge comes in to win the ball back.
17:10 , Matt Verri
53 mins: HUGE CHANCE!
Senegal free-kick, great ball in from Ciss. Diallo is completely free in the middle, but he’s somehow headed it over the bar. Was under no pressure at all.
17:07 , Matt Verri
51 mins: Another Senegal corner, they’ve started this half really well.
Deep into the box, Koulibaly tries to bring it down at the back post but the touch is a heavy one and it’s scrambled away.
17:06 , Matt Verri
49 mins: Not convincing from Malawi, Thomu comes for the corner and gets nowhere near.
Headed back across goal and Kouyate briefly looks to have an empty net to head the ball into, but Malawi get it clear.
17:05 , Matt Verri
48 mins: Free-kick for Senegal after a clumsy challenge. Ciss will look to whip this into the box.
Koulibaly with the first flick, it then gets another touch and Thomu reacts brilliantly to tip it over the bar. As close as Senegal have come.
Diallo with that second header, very nearly sent it beyond the goalkeeper.
17:02 , Matt Verri
46 mins: Just as at the start of the match, Senegal make a quick start to the half.
Diallo drifts out to the left and he space to put a cross into the box. It’s low, but it’s also behind his teammates and Malawi hack it away.
17:00 , Matt Verri
Players back out for the second-half.
Senegal will be looking for a big improvement - reminder they’ve scored just one goal all tournament, and that was a penalty against Zimbabwe.
16:55 , Matt Verri
Zimbabwe now 2-0 up over Guinea. Malawi would still finish third, as a result of their defeat to Guinea.
But should they find a winner in the second-half, they’ll be going through as group winners. Senegal on top of Group B after 45 minutes, but their position is not a completely secure one.
Slow half again from Senegal...
16:51 , Matt Verri
It's goalless at half-time with Malawi looking the more dangerous side!
Chelsea's Edouard Mendy was called into action late in the first half to keep the scores level! 🧤 pic.twitter.com/jgFFjP0pHD
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 18, 2022
16:47 , Matt Verri
And that’s half-time, with it still goalless between Malawi and Senegal.
Malawi with limited possession but they offered a threat on the break, with Mhango looking bright. Senegal really disappointing again, Mane’s early chance the only opening they created.
As it stands though, Senegal are going through as group winners.
16:45 , Matt Verri
45 mins: Mane and Diallo combine well on the edge of the box, and Diallo has space to get a shot away. Quickly blocked.
That was better though from Senegal, moved the ball quickly. One minute to be added on.
16:43 , Matt Verri
43 mins: A couple of minute until half-time. You’d imagine Aliou Cisse will have plenty to say to his Senegal team at the break.
Diallo with a lovely switch of play out to the left, but Sarr’s touch lets him down and the ball runs out.
16:40 , Matt Verri
40 mins: Malawi are on the charge, causing Senegal real problems.
Chirwa from left-back bombs down the wing and the defenders can’t get near him. He takes it to the byline, and his cross in nearly catches Mendy out at the near post. Palmed behind for a corner.
Decent ball in, but Mendy gathers at the second attempt.
16:38 , Matt Verri
38 mins: Great from Mhango but the ball won’t quite drop for him to get a shot away.
Another ball over the top and the striker beats Koulibaly to it - the centre-back has looked really rusty. Mhango cuts inside and tries to bulldoze his way through the defence, but he’s eventually crowded out.
16:37 , Matt Verri
36 mins: Senegal break away down the left and Ciss tries to whip a ball into the box. Straight out and behind for a goal-kick.
It started well for Senegal in the first few minutes, plenty of intensity to their play. Haven’t been able to keep that up.
16:35 , Matt Verri
34 mins: Just over ten minutes until half-time, no shots on target yet from either side.
That might chance here though, Malawi corner. Taken short, and when it eventually goes into the box the cross is headed away at the near post.
16:32 , Matt Verri
32 mins: Free-kick Malawi, about 25 yards out. Mhango fancies this judging by his run-up.
Into Kouyate in the wall and it deflects wide for a corner. Malawi want a penalty for handball, but they’re not going to get it.
16:30 , Matt Verri
30 mins: Zimbabwe have the lead against Guinea, meaning Senegal would top the groups as things stand with 5 points.
Guinea would be second, and Malawi would have a very decent chance of going through as one of the best third-placed teams.
16:28 , Matt Verri
27 mins: Sarr cuts inside and Madinga is a bit too keen as he pressures the full-back... Senegal free-kick in a good position.
Gueye’s ball in is a deep one, Mane wins it at the back post but he can only head it straight at Thomu.
16:25 , Matt Verri
25 mins: Sanudi with his third attempt at a long-throw. Into the box, and Kouyate wins a very cheap free-kick.
Senegal with 78% possession so far. Just the two shots though, and none on target. Neither side able to trouble the goalkeepers so far.
16:23 , Matt Verri
23 mins: Wow. Malawi with a free-kick from about 50 yards out, barely in the Senegal half.
They go for goal though... and it’s absolutely miles over the bar. Malawi have been good so far, but that was not their best decision.
16:20 , Matt Verri
20 mins: Kouyate into the book after catching Mhango, who is back on the floor already, with a swinging arm. Three of Kouyate’s teammates then pull him away as he argues with the referee.
Free-kick is clipped forward towards the box, but Senegal can get it away and regain possession.
16:19 , Matt Verri
19 mins: Mhango has stayed down after battling for the ball with Koulibaly, and he’s going to need treatment. Might have just twisted something after getting his foot stuck in the pitch.
He’s up but hobbling a fair bit. Ciss then hits it straight out of play for Senegal - they’ve been really poor so far.
16:17 , Matt Verri
16 mins: Ball over the top from Malawai for Mhango to run onto, and he gets there after Koulibaly takes a swing at it and completely misses.
He’s then caught in possession again and Muyaba lets fly from 20 yards out. Catches it really well but it whistles over the bar.
16:15 , Matt Verri
15 mins: Mendy wins a foul for Senegal as his boot comes off. Not much flow to the game in the early stages, relatively stop-start.
Still goalless between Zimbabwe and Guinea too.
16:13 , Matt Verri
12 mins: Senegal enjoying most of the possession as you’d expect, but they haven’t looked completely convincing when balls have been played into the box.
Mane has been bright, and he’s had the only real chance of the match so far.
16:10 , Matt Verri
10 mins: Another long throw from Sanudi comes to nothing. He wins it back from Mane and puts a cross in, which is a decent ball but no Malawi player can get on the end of it.
They keep the pressure on though, and Mendy then makes a mess of claiming another floated ball as he collides with the centre-back. Luckily bounces away to safety.
16:08 , Matt Verri
7 mins: First real chance of the match and it falls to the right man for Senegal, but Mane can’t take it.
All the danger is coming down the right wing and the ball is cut back low into the box. The Liverpool man runs onto it and from six yards out tries to dink it over Thomu in goal, but it’s over the bar as well.
16:06 , Matt Verri
5 mins: Senegal work it nicely out to the right, and Sarr whips in an early cross with real pace.
Diallo can only flick it wide. His head might have gone with the ball if he’d got more on that header.
16:03 , Matt Verri
3 mins: Sanudi to take the long throw as Malawi try and put some pressure on the Senegal defence.
Not a huge amount of distance on it at all though, and it’s easily cleared.
16:01 , Matt Verri
1 mins: That’s what you call a fast start, Senegal in behind with Mane straight from kick-off and they win a corner.
It’s flicked on and Kouyate wins the header, but it’s out for a goal-kick.
16:00 , Matt Verri
Senegal kick things off - huge 90 minutes ahead for both teams.
15:57 , Matt Verri
Players out onto the pitch, and national anthems done.
Just a few minutes until the final matches in Group C get underway!
15:48 , Matt Verri
15:40 , Matt Verri
Senegal have scored just one goal so far this tournament - Sadio Mane’s 97th-minute penalty against Zimbabwe.
They have their big players back in defence and midfield this afternoon, but it’s up front where they could really do with clicking into gear.
As it stands in Group B
15:28 , Matt Verri
It’s incredibly tight in Group B ahead of the final round of matches this afternoon.
Guinea and Senegal both sit on four points, having played out a goalless drawn with each other and winning their other match 1-0. Malawi have three points, with Zimbabwe yet to get off the mark.
Guinea are expected to beat Zimbabwe, so Senegal will want a comfortable win against Malawi to prevent any nerves creeping in.
Players have arrived...
15:23 , Matt Verri
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 18, 2022
Three Malawi changes
15:09 , George Flood
Malawi make three changes to the team that beat Zimbabwe, with first-choice goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe ruled out through illness and replaced by Charles Thomu.
Lawrence Chaziya deputises for injured captain Limbikani Mzava in central defence and Micium Mhone replaces Richard Mbulu out right.
Mendy, Koulibaly and Gueye all back for Senegal
15:03 , George Flood
Some huge boosts for Senegal there as Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and influential captain Kalidou Koulibaly do return to the starting XI after recovering from Covid.
Idrissa Gueye is also back in midfield, while Nampalys Mendy similarly comes in along with Habib Diallo.
Seny Dieng, Pape Abou Cisse, Mamadou Loum, Mame Thiam and Ibrahima Mbaye all drop out.
14:58 , George Flood
— FYI (@FYIonlinemw) January 18, 2022
14:58 , George Flood
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) January 18, 2022
Malawi ready for upset in ‘biggest game of our lives'
14:56 , George Flood
That spirit of belief seems to run through the manager into the Malawi squad, with midfielder John Banda confident that they can add their name to the list of huge AFCON shocks.
“Senegal look good on paper, but they have to know our game against them will be the biggest game of our lives,” he said. “We believe we can beat them even though they are the favourites.
“We are motivated by surprises in the tournament, and we believe this is our golden opportunity every Malawian is waiting for.
“It is a fact Senegal has big stars, but our game plan is to surprise them and qualify. It may look like a huge task, but we are ready for the challenge ahead.”
Meck Mwase: Malawi can make history
14:45 , George Flood
Meanwhile, head coach Meck Mwase believes that Malawi have the chance to make history in Bafoussam, with the likes of Equatorial Guinea providing the blueprint for a major shock with their stunning win over holders Algeria on Sunday.
Malawi have only previously qualified for AFCON in 1984 and 2010, not making it through the group stage on either occasion.
Their only previous victory over Senegal came all the way back in 1987.
“We want to finish the group stage on a winning note even though we know our opponents are tough,” Mwase said.
“This gives us motivation to even work harder. I told my players they have got an opportunity to make history.
“We have all seen the many surprises so far in the tournament, and our opponents must be prepared as it will not be a smooth ride.
“We only have one player missing and that is our captain, but we have equally good players that can replace him as we fight to qualify.”
Cisse pleased with Senegal options but won’t underestimate Malawi
14:29 , George Flood
Long-serving Senegal boss Aliou Cisse is pleased to have his selection options boosted with all of the Covid-affected players now seemingly recovered.
However, he insists his confident side will not underestimate Malawi this afternoon.
“We have confidence going into the game, but it’s important to respect Malawi,” he said.
“We are happy that all our players are available which gives us more options. All Senegalese are watching us and it’s our role to give them hope by winning.
“Our ambitions are intact. We are playing against a motivated side that want to go for a special win.”
14:25 , George Flood
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 18, 2022
Malawi vs Senegal prediction
14:18 , George Flood
Surely, Senegal will come to life at some point. As simple and reductive as it may sound, there’s just too many good players for it not to work out.
Senegal to win 2-0.
Malawi team news
14:17 , George Flood
For Malawi, full-back Gomezgani Chirwa picked up a late knock in Friday’s 2-1 comeback victory over Zimbabwe sealed by Gabadinho Mhango’s brace.
However, he is expected to be fine to play today as the Flames target only their third-ever win at the Africa Cup of Nations.
But captain Limbikani Mzava is definitely sidelined.
Senegal team news
14:13 , George Flood
Leicester midfielder Nampalys Mendy could return to Senegal’s starting XI today after being named on the bench for the draw with Guinea following his Covid-enforced isolation.
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly are also back in training after recovering from coronavirus, but it remains to be seen if either player will be involved this afternoon.
Idrissa Gana Gueye and Fode Ballo Toure are also available after returning negative PCR tests, while Bamba Dieng joined the squad over the weekend.
How to watch Malawi vs Senegal
14:08 , George Flood
TV channel: In the UK, today’s game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Football.
Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers will also be able to watch the action unfold online via the Sky Go app.
Welcome to Malawi vs Senegal LIVE coverage!
14:04 , George Flood
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage of a pivotal day at the Africa Cup of Nations!
Group C will be settled later on tonight, but first Group B reaches its conclusion as pre-tournament favourites Senegal take on Malawi in Bafoussam and Guinea battle Zimbabwe in Yaounde.
Kick-off in both matches is at 4pm GMT, so stay tuned for all the latest team news, match build-up and live updates.