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Mighty Wanderers miss call

Moyale seize Nomads in Airtel Top 8 race

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THRILLING—Moyale captain Njaliwa (left) battles for possession with Mpinganjira

Moyale Barracks turned Kamuzu Stadium into their own fortress Sunday when they defeated Mighty Wanderers 1-0 to win the first leg of the Airtel Top 8 Cup.

Striker Lloyd Njaliwa scored the lone goal of the match in the 52nd minute with his deft finish after Wanderers goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa fumbled Boy Boy Chima’s cross.

After the final whistle, some Wanderers’ fans demanded the firing of the team’s head coach Bob Mpinganjira as they sang songs in anger after failing to come to terms with the home defeat.

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Moyale now have an upper hand as they expect to host Wanderers on November 20 during the return leg at a venue to be confirmed later.

It was a painful blow as Wanderers are hunting for their first silverware since 2017 when they last won the Super League championship.

Moyale Coach Pritchard Mwansa named a strong side but also made a tactical move with seasoned striker Deus Nkutu starting on the bench.

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The Lions of Kaning’ina flooded Wanderers’ midfield to overpower the likes of Yamikani Chester, Wisdom Mpinganjira and Vitumbiko Kumwenda.

The soldiers also cut Wanderers’ main supply line as right-back Stanley Sanudi’s movement was restricted failing to provide his telling crosses.

In the first half, both teams had decent chances with Mpinganjira failing to beat Moyale goalkeeper MacDonald Harawa whereas Chrispin Fukuzi fluffed Moyale’s opportunity.

After resumption, Moyale upped their game and it came as a no surprise when Njaliwa put his team ahead.

Both teams made changes but the scoreline could not be changed.

Mwansa said it was a good start in their quest to win the cup.

“Playing away was not easy. We have won today but we still have a long way to go before we have the return leg. We will work hard to do well in the tournament,” he said.

Wanderers Coach Bob Mpinganjira conceded defeat.

“It was a very difficult game. We lost and we have accepted. We were not ourselves from the word go to the last whistle. When you don’t play your usual game, you get punished and that’s what exactly has happened,” he said.

The Airtel Top 8 Cup got underway on Saturday with Nyasa Big Bullets making a huge statement when they defeated Mafco 3-1 courtesy of Babatunde Adepoju’s brace and Hassan Kajoke’s early strike.

Airtel Top 8 Cup will continue on Saturday with two-time winners Silver Strikers clashing against Kasungu-based TN Stars at Nankhaka Ground before Civil Service United and Karonga United meet at Civo Stadium on Sunday

The second leg matches will start on November 20 with Moyale hosting Wanderers at a venue yet to be identified whereas Mafco will meet Bullets at Chitowe Stadium the following day.

Karonga will host Civil on November 27 before TN face Silver at Kasungu Stadium on November 28.

The semifinal matches will be played between December 11 and 12 whereas the final will be played on December 18.

The champion of this year’s tournament will receive K17 million after the sponsors, Airtel Malawi plc, increased the sponsorship package to K234 million from K198 million for the next three years.

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