Frontrunners Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers picked up wins in the 2017 Super League on Sunday, defeating defending champions Kamuzu Barracks and Premier Bet Wizards respectively to maintain their title challenge.
Wanderers have 38 points from 16 games, while the Central Bankers are just a point behind despite playing a game more than the league leaders.
At Balaka Stadium, Essau Kanyenda scored his first goal in Wanderers colours to inspire them to a hard fought 1-nil victory over Kamuzu Barracks to extend their lead at the top.
Coming from their Carlsberg Cup final defeat to rivals Nyasa Big Bullets last week, the Nomads meant business as they scored in the first minute of the encounter only to be denied by the first assistant referee whose flag was up for offside.
Wanderers were dealt with a massive blow when defender Harry Nyirenda was substituted for Kondwani Lufeyo due to an injury he suffered in the opening minutes.
Moments later, the Soldiers had to be rescued by Vincent Mphepo who made a fantastic clearance to deny Jafali Chande from scoring when his header had managed to beat Sekeni Mhango in goals for the visitors.
Just when everybody thought the teams will head into the break goalless, Kanyenda opened his account for the Nomads on the stroke of half time.
A free kick by Joseph Kamwendo was tapped in by the former Dwangwa United, Rostov FC and Polokwane FC striker to make it 1-nil.
Come second half, Wanderers continued from where they stopped in the first half, attacking in anger but the visitors’ defence stood firm to frustrate the home side.
Khumbo Ng’ambi had to come in to increase the Nomads’ attacking pace as they tried to nail the game but KB’s defence was too stubborn.
Ng’ambi thought he had doubled his side’s lead only to see his effort well cleared by the visitors before crossing the line.
The Soldiers had some few chances in the half but Wanderers’ defence gave them no chance and after 90 minutes, 1-nil it ended in favour of the set pacers.
As for the defending champions, the defeat leaves them 9th with 28 points from 18 games having played to a goalless draw to Red Lions on Saturday at the same venue.
At Silver Stadium, Mathews Sibale scored the only goal to inspire the Bankers to a 1-nil hard fought victory over struggling Wizards to close the gap to just 1 point despite playing a game more than their fellow league contenders.
In other matches, Moyale Barracks bounced back from their disappointing 3-nil defeat to Civil Sporting Club on Saturday to beat Masters Security 2-1 to move up to 6th on the table with 28 points from 18 games.
Wiseman Kamanga and Chamveka Gwetsani were on target for the Soldiers while Patience Kalumo scored the consolation goal for the rookies who are on position 13 with 17 points from 16 games.