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Masters get the last sip

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Masters Security completed their fairytale run in the Carlsberg Cup when they came from behind to beat Be Forward Wanderers 5-4 on post-match penalties to lift the trophy at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre yesterday.

Wanderers skipper Alfred Manyozo Jnr blasted his penalty over the bar to gift Masters their first ever national trophy to sum up a dramatic campaign which saw them booting out defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets in the semifinal.

Their reward was a cool K12 million plus a trophy and gold medals. Perhaps they will use the money to sip all the Carlsberg beer on the market and leave imbibers thirsty elsewhere.

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Masters’ success in the cup could be attributed to their never-say-die spirit as they proved beyond doubt that they were the competition’s comeback kings.

In games against Bullets and Mzuni, Masters conceded first before equalising and progressing to win on post-match penalties.

Even though Masters fell behind barely seconds after kick-off following a well-worked out goal by Precious Sambani, the Lilongwe-based side never gave up but continued to threaten the Nomads.

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It was a well-balanced game but Wanderers should have wrapped it up in the first half.

Masters also had their fabulous moments but Juma Yatina and Babatunde Adeboye missed the target with goalkeeper, Nenani Juwaya, well-beaten.

With the game seemingly heading in Wanderers’ direction, Masters Coach Abbas Makawa, threw his last dice by introducing former Nomad Ishmael Thindwa  for Amadu Makawa and Sammy Phiri for Allion Tchefu.

In a bid to keep possession, Wanderers substituted Joseph Kamwendo for Rafiq Namwera and Esau Kanyenda for Zicco Mkanda.

However, it was Masters’ substitution that had a huge impact as Juwaya saved a Babatunde deft shot before Phiri finished off the rebound with five minutes to full time.

The goal took the game into post-match penalties where Masters converted all their spot kicks through Francis Mkonda, Juma Yatina, Babatunde and Richard Chande whereas the Nomads converted through Zicco Mkanda, Francis Mlimbika, Sambani and Namwera but Manyozo missed the last one to hand the trophy to Masters.

Once again, the hero of the day was Masters goalkeeper Bester Phiri whose slight touch on Manyozo’s penalty ended Wanderers’ dreams of lifting the cup.

Masters Coach Abbas Makawa commended his charges for putting up a gallant fight in the last half.

“I told my players not to lose heart and that is exactly what they did in the second half until they got that goal. Even though the referee wanted to frustrate us in some instances due to questionable decisions, my players never relented,” Makawa said.

Wanderers Coach Bob Mpinganjira who was visibly dejected with the defeat, said his team was punished for wasting scoring chances.

“We could have easily won this game if we had used the scoring chances we had created. But I should commend my players for a spirited performance. The game of football also goes with luck. We were not lucky and we should just accept defeat,” Mpinganjira said.

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