Newman Mwamusamale scored a valuable away goal for Silver Strikers as they beat Civil Sporting Club in their Airtel Top 8 quarterfinal first leg match played at Bingu National Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts were left fuming when their defenders failed to stop Mwamusamale from scoring a free header in the first half to put their chances of progressing into the semifinals in jeopardy.
The goal came from Levison Maganizo’s well taken corner kick which found Mwamusamale who then headed past Tione Tembo in goals for the hosts.
The hosts could have been level before the interval, when the usually consistent Silver Strikers goalkeeper Brighton Munthali seemed to misjudge a free-kick floated in from the left, but defender Yunus Sherrif was able to force the ball away from the Civil Servants’ forward Fletcher Bandawe.
The midfield battle between Young Chimodzi Jnr and Joseph Kachule was very interesting, with the former having an edge over the latter.
The servants had a great chance to open the scoring in the opening 20 minutes of the match, when Raphael Phiri headed a superb cross from the left straight at Munthali.
While the hosts had the better of the midfield exchanges for most of the game, they battled to contain the pacey men in sky blue.
However, Civil Sporting conceded a goal in a dramatic fashion.
A loose ball which had no impact at all forced Tembo to concede a corner from which Mwamusamale notched home as he was left unmarked by Civil’s defence, 1-0.
On the stroke of half time, the hosts through Phiri failed to capitalize on a counterattack which saw the visitors regaining their position before making a stunning clearance.
Come second half, the Bankers brought in Timothy Chitedze for Trevor Kalema as they wanted to defend their lone goal.
The half saw more of Civil than the visitors who were more defensive in the entire half.
The hosts had more possession and created some goal scoring chances but they lacked the finishing composure in front of goal.
An example of this was midway through the half when Munthali had to produce a stunning save from a loose ball between the goal posts as Civil’s forward beat the offside trap.
Mphatso Phillimon saw his effort well cleared by Civil’s defence before missing another chance from a close range.
The Bankers were composed, calm and solid at the back, with their attackers coming wave after wave in quest for the second goal and they almost sealed the victory in style when Jack Chiona’s effort came off the woodwork.
With five minutes to go, the hosts won a free kick in a very promising position which was taken by Kachule only to be cleared by Chisomo Mpachika at the back for the defending champions and after 90 minutes of play, 1-0 it ended.
The return leg will be played in two weeks’ time at a venue to be announced by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
The action continues on Sunday when Nyasa Big Bullets will play host to Moyale Barracks at Kalulu Stadium.