Malawi had to fight tooth and nail to get a win against visiting South Sudan in their Group B match away in Blantye.
Their solitary goal was scored by Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango in the 67th minute as they beat South Sudan 1-0.
Mhango picked up a pass from Gerald Phiri Jr before beating two defenders inside the area and then firing in a fierce shot that South Sudan keeper Majak Mawith was unable to hold as the ball spilled into the net.
It was however a difficult game for Malawi as they struggled to find any fluidity early in the game while South Sudan will draw some positives from the match as they twice were denied by the woodwork as they huffed and puffed in Malawi’s half firing from all cylinders.
In another match CAR scored the first goal of the group stages after just five minutes when Vianney Mabide, who plays in Morocco for Kawkab Marrakech, struck in the 2-0 win over Burundi.
The second goal of the Group E encounter came late in the game and was scored by France-born Louis Mafouta, who plays in the French fourth-tier for RC Grasse.