The TNM Super League title fight enters a new territory with the clash of the top two at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre this afternoon.
The clash will see leaders Silver Strikers and second-placed Nyasa Big Bullets testing their title credentials in a potential decider.
This is a match whose result will have an impact on the championship race as just a point separates the two sides at the summit of the log table.
Silver top the 16-member table with 46 points from 22 matches whereas Bullets have 45 points with a game in hand.
A win for either side would tilt the title race in their favour, provided they do not slip up in their remaining matches.
Heading into the encounter, Bullets have a score to settle after losing 1-0 in the first round, courtesy of a Maxwell Phodo stoppage time strike.
Bullets Assistant Coach Peter Mponda refused to read too much into the first round result.
“The league is a marathon and not a sprint. We need to use home-ground advantage so that we get maximum points,” Mponda said.
The former Malawi National Football Team assistant coach will take charge of Bullets in coach Kalisto Pasuwa’s absence.
The Zimbabwean tactician is in self isolation after testing positive for coronavirus.
An epic battle is expected to ensue in midfield where Bullets have Chimango Kaira, Chimwemwe Idana and Misheck Selemani who will line up against Silver’s Chikondi Kamanga, Blessings Tembo and Frank Banda.
Bullets youngster Lanjesi Nkhoma is expected to keep his place upfront, having impressed in the 2-0 win over Mighty Tigers in FDH Bank Cup. Nkhoma netted the first goal.
At the back, Mponda is likely to keep faith in Nixon Nyasulu, Sankhani Mkandawire, Eric Kaonga and Blessings Mpokera.
Silver Assistant Coach MacDonald Mtetemera said his troops were on a serious mission.
“We expect an easy game because we know Bullets very well. Our mission is to collect full points so that we increase our chances of winning the league title,” Mtetemera said.
Silver continue to miss the services of striker Foster Biton and Jack Chiona due to injuries.
The Central Bankers’ Zambian mentor Daniel Kabwe is expected to endure the headache of having to choose who mans the posts between Charles Thom and Brighton Munthali.
The backline could be a foregone conclusion, with Nixon Mwase, Chisomo Mpachika, Hadji Wali and Mark Fodya likely to be selected.
Phodo could lead Silver’s attack alongside Duncan Nyoni and Patrick Macheso.
Action continues tomorrow with third-placed Mighty Wanderers travelling to Lilongwe for a showdown against Mafco at Civo Stadium.
The Nomads will be hoping for revenge after losing the first round match 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium.
Wanderers are third on the table with 37 points after playing 21 matches whereas Mafco are eighth with 32 points from 22 assignments.