It was the same old song for Premier bet Wizards. Chances in abundance, but wasted, as they drew 1-1 with Kamuzu Barracks (KB) to further reduce their survival chances.
On an afternoon that Masters Security were beaten 3-1 by Blantyre United, a win for Wizards would have taken them to within 2 points of safety, although they have played two games more.
But they failed to capitalise on that, as KB’s Harvey Mkacha cancelled out Blessing Phiri’s opener to push Wizards closer to the exit door.
An impressive crowd at the Chiwembe Stadium in Blantyre, witnesses an even contest in the first half, with chances far and few in between.
But the game opened up in the second half with the home side taking the lead just 2 minutes after the half time break.
A lovely exchange of passes on the left between Kelvin Osman and Mishek Bottoman ended in Osman squaring the ball for Phiri who beat KB goalkeeper Leman Nthala with a left footer.
The visitors pushed for an instant response, with former national team midfielder Dave Banda’s shot missing the upright by a whisker.
Despite being on the defensive, Peter Mponda’s Wizards carved out the best opportunities of the half.
On the 64th minute, Kondwani Majoni was denied by the cross bar after lofting the ball over Nthala who was way off his line.
Four minutes later Wizards had two back to back chances to seal three precious points but were fluffed by Bottoman and Keston Kasonde in quick succession.
As if that was enough, Frank Mlimanjira squared the ball for nobody few minutes later, when he should have gone for goal.
The soldiers never stopped probing until they got their reward on 72 minutes, Mkacha tapping home from close range following some good work from Manase Chiyesa on the right.
Kelvin Hanganda then missed a sitter before substitute Zinjani Yona fired over with an attempted bicycle kick.
Yona was KB’s only change on the day coming on for World Mkuliwa, as Wizards replaced Majoni with Patrick Phiri.
Wizards caretaker coach Simeon Kapuza rued the missed chances while conceding their survival fight has taken a precarious turn.
“Same old problems. We created lots of chances but failed to turn them into goals. This is a painful result, looking at our position in the league. But we will not throw in the towel yet, we will fight until the last minute of the campaign” said Kapuza.
Wizards who are 14th on the table, with 24 points need something of a miracle to beat the chop.
They must win their two remaining fixtures against Chitipa United and Moyale Barracks, while hoping that Masters Security lose all their four matches left.
Ted Kalinda who is KB assistant coach blamed fatigue on his boys but welcomed the result as a fair outcome.
“Fatigue took its toll on my boys, because yesterday we arrived late and didn’t have enough time to rest. So a draw is not a bad result for us,” said Kalinda.
The soldiers face Azam Tigers at the Chilomoni Stadium Sunday, a game from which Kalinda is targeting maximum points, to return to Lilongwe with at least 4 points.
“Sunday’s encounter is a must win for us so that we collect 4 points on our way back to base. Our main target is also to finish in the top 8 so we will try to get a result on Sunday,” concluded Kalinda whose team plays Moyale in the Fisd Challenge Cup on Saturday December 9.
KB sit 9th in the league, level on 36 points with 8th placed Red Lions who have a better goal difference, and have two games more.