Azam Tigers saw their Tnm Super League top 8 dreams dashed following a 1-2 defeat to Kamuzu Barracks.
The game was played on Sunday, in front of an almost empty Chilomoni Stadium, in Blantyre.
A win for Tigers would have taken them to within two points of the top 8, going into their last fixture, but Mude Jeffrey’s first half brace ended those hopes as Bonda Mpinganjira grabbed the consolation for the home side.
As Tigers miss out on the 2018 Airtel top 8, KB themselves are right in it, owing to Sunday’s victory which moves them from position 9 to 8, a point behind 7th placed Moyale Barracks who have played a game more.
KB who made 4 changes from Saturday’s lineup against Premier bet Wizards, took control of the first 45 minutes coasting to a 0-2 lead just inside 13 minutes, courtesy of Jeffrey who was among those rested in Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
His first was a stunning free kick in the first minute, beating Tigers goalkeeper Thomas Kalavina from 25 yards out.
He was at it again in the 13th minute, meritably doubling KB’s lead from the 18 yard box.
Tigers huffed and puffed until the 42nd minute when they were rewarded.
KB midfielder Harvey Mkacha handled the ball in the box, inviting Mpinganjira to reduce the deficit from the spot.
The second half was a dull and cagey affair with clear chances hard to come by.
The closest KB came to putting the result beyond doubt, was when Kelvin Hanganda’s attempted loft over Kalavina was saved, with defender Martin Chongwe arriving in the nick of time to clear the lines.
Tigers had a couple of crosses floated into the box by left back Mpinganjira and Hankey Machira, but the soldiers’ defence marshalled by Sam Chibvunde and Peter Mselema stood firm.
Lehman Nthala was also commanding in goals with his towering stature.
Tigers made two changes withdrawing Frazer Menyani and Chikumbutso Henderson for Jonathan Misomali and Mayeso Mphanje.
KB coach Billy Phambala ringed two changes as well pulling off Mustapha Salimu for Komani Msiska as Hanganda made way for Sammy Chiponda.
After the game, Phambala was delighted to have broken into the top 8 after collecting 4 points from the South.
“I am happy for the result, because on Saturday we had a tough outing. That’s why today I made some changes and am glad it paid off, as we are going home with 4 points and we are in the top 8. Furthermore it’s the type of result we were looking for, heading into the Fisd Challenge Cup final against Moyale this Saturday,” said Phambala.
Tigers technical director Robin Alufandika conceded their top 8 dreams were painfully over.
“It’s painful to lose this game and miss out on the top 8. Now our campaign is over, we have to go back and do a postmortem on how we got it wrong this season” lamented Alufandika.
Tigers whose final league fixture is against Mafco have 31 points while KB’s tally is 39 from 27 games.
The Lilongwe based soldiers have three more matches against Silver Strikers, Masters Security and Dwangwa United to wrap up the campaign.