Blue Eagles produced a master-class performance that not only allowed them to escape relegation but also handed the TNM Super League championship to holders Nyasa Big Bullets.
Eagles, having been stuck in the relegation zone for the better part of the second round, needed to win against Mighty Wanderers to survive the relegation trap.
Gilbert Chirwa hammered a brace, with Chifuniro Mpinganjira scoring the third goal to hand Eagles a 3-1 win over Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium Sunday.
It was a win they needed the most as fellow strugglers Chitipa United were also chasing the same spot.
Even though Chitipa defeated Red Lions 2-1, the result was not enough to survive the chop.
Following Sunday’s results, Eagles have survived the chop owing to goal difference as they have tied on 32 points each with Mighty Tigers and Chitipa.
Eagles have a zero goal difference having scored 29 goals and conceded the same number of goals.
Tigers lie on position 13 with a goal difference of negative nine while Chitipa have a minus 18 goal difference.
Chitipa have joined already relegated Ntopwa and Mzuzu Warriors. Ntopwa finished the season with 21 points to lie on position 15 while Warriors anchor the table with 18 points.
Meanwhile, Eagles’ win was warmly welcomed by holders Bullets as the fellow title contenders have slipped and cannot overtake them.
Bullets have 59 points from 29 games and they will meet Karonga in the final game whereas Silver will date Ekwendeni. Wanderers will face Moyale.
Silver are second with 55 points and if they win their last game they will finish with 58 points while third-placed Wanderers will conclude the campaign with 57 points if they win their last game.
At Kamuzu Stadium, Eagles underlined their intent to survive the chop when they went ahead in the 15th minute through Chirwa’s goal, who took advantage of a defensive mix-up but striker Vincent Nyangulu replied for the Nomads two minutes later when he rounded off two defenders before beating goalkeeper John Soko.
Chirwa restored the lead for the Nankhaka based side with a powerful shot that gave Wanderers goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa no chance in the 20th minute.
As Wanderers were trying to get back into the game, Eagles hammered the last nail through Mpinganjira in the 33rd minute.
Both teams made changes in the second half but it was obvious that Wanderers were a changed side without Yamikani Chester, who was dropped from the squad after picking a minor knee injury.
Eagles Coach Gerald Phiri Snr was relieved with the result.
“Credit should go to the boys for a job well done,” he said.
Wanderers Coach Bob Mpinganjira conceded defeat.
“We did not play our usual game,” he said.