…Defending champions out of Airtel Top 8 cup…
Silver Strikers’ hopes of a quadruple of titles this season is over following a narrow 1-0 defeat to Blue Eagles in the semifinals of Airtel Top 8 cup played at Civo Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Maxwell Salambula’s third minute strike was enough to send the Area 30 Cops into the finals of Malawi’s prestigious competition at the expense of the Central Bankers who had plenty of chances through their new striker Khuda Muyaba but were denied by John Soko in goals for the Eagles.
The visitors’ first shot at goal kissed the back of the net when Salambula found himself unmarked in the 18 yard box before releasing a thunderbolt which was too much for Brighton Munthali, 1-0.
From there, it was Silver Strikers who were more offensive in search for the much needed equalizer but Soko was brilliant in goals for the visitors as he produced some stunning saves to frustrate the Area 47 giants.
Muyaba was very outstanding, reminding Malawians the reason why the Central Bankers paid him K4 million to sign him, as he kept on taunting Eagles’ defence but met Wonder Jeremani who was very solid at the back.
With less than 10 minutes to play in the half, the former Fish Eagles and Moyale Barracks forward saw his 25 metre drive effort being saved by the outstanding Soko who deservedly won the man of the match award.
Come second half, the Bankers, knowing that time wasn’t on their side, introduced Timothy Chitedze and Green Harawa to try to find the equalizing goal.
At the other end, Vitumbiko Kumwenda had to be denied twice by Munthali who made some clean saves when the visitors caught the Bankers off-guard using the counter attacks from the wings where Micium Mhone and Gregory Nachipo were operating.
Soko was at it again, this time around, denying Victor Limbani from finding the back of the net when his powerful header was well saved by the goal custodian.
With less than 14 minutes to play, the Bankers threw everything upfront but the Cops stood firm to progress into the finals of the competition.
As for the Bankers, their quest to defend the cup which they won last year is over and they will now be focusing on the Super League where they are seen as one of the favourites to win the championship.
The Eagles will be waiting for the winner between Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers next week to know their final opponent.