By Mabvuto Kambuwe & Isaac Salima
It was a weekend full of twist and turns as Blue Eagles underlined their title credentials with a hard-fought win over Silver Strikers whereas Mighty Wanderers were left shell shocked following a home defeat to Kamuzu Barracks.
Eagles maintained their impressive start in the TNM Super League with a 1- 0 win over Silver Strikers at Nankhaka Stadium Sunday.
Substitute Laurent Banda was the hero of the day when he scored in stoppage time to hand Eagles maximum points.
Banda tapped in a Gaddie Chirwa pass from the left flank after Silver defence failed to clear the ball.
Following the victory, Eagles opened a five-point gap at the summit of the log table as they have 19 points from seven matches.
However, champions Nyasa Big Bullets, who drew 0-0 against Karonga United on Saturday, are second with 14 points from six matches.
On the part of Silver, it was their second defeat of the season, having also lost by a similar margin against Red Lions in the season opener.
The Central Bankers are on position 10 on the log table with eight points from six matches, 11 points behind leaders Eagles.
It was a balanced match as both teams created chances.
Silver started the match on a high and created some chances in the opening minutes of the match.
Winger Zebron Kalima forced Eagles goalkeeper Brighton Munthali to make a reflex save just after five minutes. After nine minutes, Blessings Tembo hit the frame of the goal from free-kick.
However, Silver suffered an early blow after Tembo and Chawanangwa Kaonga were substituted due to injuries.
Duncan Nyoni and Maxwell Phodo replaced Tembo and Kaonga, respectively.
Stain Davie had an opportunity to put his side in the lead but he shot over the bar in the 19th minute.
On the hand, Schumacher Kuwali also missed a chance in the 20th minute before Arthur Moffat fluffed another opportunity.
After the match, Eagles Assistant Coach Christopher Sibale was excited with the win.
“The players executed the game-plan well. We featured a fast player towards the end and we knew that Silver defence would struggle to contain him,” Sibale said.
On his part, Silver Assistant Coach Macdonald Yobe said it was too early to press the panic button.
“We are concerned with the loss but we just need to be strong and move forward,” Yobe said.
At Kamuzu Stadium, Wanderers paid dearly for their awful defending when they gifted Kamuzu Barracks two goals to lose 2-1.
Playing before a sizeable crowd, the game failed to live up to its billing as it lacked spark and pace.
Both teams, who tied on 10 points before the game, were looking for maximum points as they tussled for a third spot on the log table.
Wanderers made life difficult for themselves when a defensive lapse cost them a goal barely 13 minutes into the game after Miracle Gabeya failed to clear a loose ball which landed on Kelvin Hanganda’s feet, who made no mistake to put the soldiers in front.Hanganda claimed a brace 44 minutes into the first half when he was again gifted a cheap ball by Bongani Kaipa.
The game also exposed Wanderers’ tactical deficiencies when they left more ball players on the bench resulting in the team failing to tick.
Realising this, the Eddingtone Ng’onamo-led technical panel introduced Felix Zulu, Misheck Bottoman and Isaac Kaliati who pumped life into the game and the Nomads started pushing forward.
However, the soldiers frustrated the Lali Lubani boys with their slow approach as they also retreated to the back in military formation.
Adeleke Kalawoke scored the consoration for Wanderers in the 83th minute when he connected home Kaliati’s free-kick to give hopes of a possible comeback.
Substitute Chiukepo Msowoya nearly broke Kamuzu Barracks’ hearts but his header in the added minutes of the game was ruled out for offside.
The soldiers’ mentor Charles Kamanga hailed his charges for utilising their chances.
“We were under pressure towards the end of the game but that’s what happens when you are leading. The win means a lot to us because we have been consistent so far,” Kamanga said.
Wanderers Vice Coach Joseph Kamwendo lamented that his charges had a tough afternoon.
“We gifted them those two goals and when you make blunders in football your opponents capitalise on that and that’s what KB did,” Kamwendo said.
With the win, KB have now moved third with 13 points from six games while Wanderers are fifth with 10 points.
Elsewhere, rookies Rumphi United stunned Civil Service United 1-0 thanks to Trouble Kajani’s goal.
At Kasungu Stadium, TN Stars and Red Lions drew 1-1. Symon Chimenya was on target for Stars whereas Chikoti Chirwa scored for Lions.