Kaliyati’s late winner keeps Wanderers on course

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Isaac Kaliyati struck late to give Be Forward Wanderers a crucial 1-0 victory over Azam Tigers, which kept their 4 point lead at the top of the Tnm Super League intact.

On a day that their title contenders Nyasa Big Bullets also took it late to beat Mzuni 0-1 in Mzuzu, Wanderers and Tigers were both wasteful in an exciting clash, played in front of an impressive crowd that braved the chilly weather at the Chilomoni Stadium.

Be Forward Wanderers vs Silver Strikers

Wanderers were the better side in the early exchanges but couldn’t make their dominance count, as Kaliyati, Peter Wadabwa and Precious Sambani all fluffed some glorious opportunities.

Tigers gave a good account of themselves in the last quarter of the first half in which Chasimbiwe Kanyika blasted over the bar while his header was cleared off the line by Harry Nyirenda.

Bonda Mpinganjira then saw his dipping free kick tipped over by goalkeeper Nenani Juwaya, a former Tiger himself.

The Nomads were back on the ascendancy as soon as the early minutes of the second half in which Harry Nyirenda made way for Bongani Kayipa after picking up an injury.

Esau Kanyenda nearly broke the deadlock but his point blank header brought out a superb reflex save from Tigers keeper Thomas Kalavina, who had a magnificent show in between the sticks.

Few minutes later, Wadabwa should have put the Nomads ahead but shocked many, when he defied his own high standards by heading wide from five yards out.

By then, Wanderers mentor Yasin Osman had seen enough of him and didn’t take long to throw Jafallie Chande in his place while midfieder Ernest Tambe replaced Jabulani Linje in a double substitution.

But the changes yielded little as the Tigers defence led by the towering Martin Chongwe stood solid.

Just like they did in the first half, Tigers became more aggressive in the latter stages of the second 45 minutes with Willy Sayenda dictating the pace in midfield.

Tigers team manager Chikaiko Bridge, who took charge in the absence of head coach Patricio Kulemeka injected more fluency by replacing Precious Phiri and Jones Kanyumba with Mayeso Mphanje and Frazer Menyani.

Their probing almost paid off on 74 minutes when defender Nixon Mwase’s header from a corner kick beat goalkeeper Juwaya, only to be cleared off the line by defender Stanley Sanudi.

Mphanje came close few minutes later but Juwaya was equal to his stinging shot from just outside the box.

Tigers kept pressing and looked the likelier to score, but it were the nomads who would shake the net against the run of play.

With just 4 minutes to full time, Dan Kumwenda of Tigers cheaply gave the ball away in the Wanderers final third with a careless back pass, which fell kindly for Rafik Namwera.

Namwera wasted no time before releasing Chande on the left.

Chande beat one defender then laid a square pass for Kaliyati who took his time, picked his spot, before placing the ball into the net.

Yamikani Chester should have doubled the lead moments later but headed over from close range.

After the match, Wanderers coach Osman admitted his team’s wastefulness made life difficult for them.

“It was a tough match because we complicated matters ourselves by missing lots of clear chances. We should have been 3 or 4 up by half time, but kept wasting our opportunities. But am happy we finally got the goal,” said Osman.

On his team’s title charge Osman added ” We are now on 58 points with 5 games to go. When we get to 61 we will be sniffing the championship, but that will demand hard work from us.”

Bridge however described the result as painful.

“It’s hard to take the defeat after giving out such a great performance. I am happy for my boys, they played well, created chances but we were so unlucky not to score, only to concede at the death. However, we will rise from this defeat and fight for a top 8 finish,” said Bridge whose team sits 9th in the league with 30 points from 26 fixtures.

Tigers’ next outing is against Bullets at the Chilomoni Stadium this Thursday while Wanderers are on bye.

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