Silver Strikers’ hopes of finishing the first round at the top of the summit in the top flight suffered a massive blow following their 3-nil defeat away to Mafco on Sunday afternoon at Chitowe Stadium.
A lone goal from talisman Richard Mbulu and Stainley Malata’s brace ensured all the three points for the Salima based Soldiers who are now third in the standings with 28 points.
The Bankers needed a victory in Sunday’s game to cement their place at the top but they rarely looked like breaking down the visitors’ defence, while their own backline appeared vulnerable.
The hosts attacked with intent as Yohane Malunga, Saidi Mtekama and Joseph Dossa pressed harder in the opening minutes in search for goals but the Central Bankers survived the scare as Brighton Munthali made some stunning saves to frustrate the Soldiers who were coming from a 3-2 defeat to rookies Max Bullets last week.
However, Mbulu was not to be denied again as he made a cool finish from Dossa’s low-cross drive into the penalty, 1-0.
Things got worse for the league leaders in the second half as Malata scored a brace within two minutes to completely dash their hopes of coming back into a game they needed a victory most.
While Mafco’s defence was a solid and well-organised unit – given further protection by Malunga in the midfield – Silver Strikers’ looked nervy whenever the hosts came forward.
Malata was left unmarked when he headed in the second before completing his brace a minute later.
The area 47 giants were no match to Mafco’s pace and anger for goals as Mbulu continued to trouble the visitors but was unlucky not to add more goals to his name and after 90 minutes of play, 3-nil it ended.
The result sees Silver Strikers finishing the first round with 29 points and they will now have to wait for Blue Eagles’ result on Wednesday against Wizards FC to know whether they have finished top of the standings or not for the K1 million prize.
As for Mafco, they have finished the first round on 3rd position with 28 points