Chitipa United registered their first win since their return to the TNM Super League after edging out their neighbors Karonga United in a derby match played on Tuesday.
Lupakisho Mwalukazinga scored the solitary goal in the second half at the full capacity Karonga Stadium.
The win lifted Chitipa United from the bottom up to 10th on the log table with 5 points from 5 games while Karonga dropped two places to 7th with 6 points from the same number of matches.
Karonga made a lively start to the match and should have been in front within the first 2 minutes but Gulelp Mwaisope’s goal bound strike was brilliantly saved by the Chitipa United’s goal custodian Dalitso Kunga and Khumbo Msowoya also fired wide from a free-kick as the home side ramped up the heat.
After sucking up the early pressure the away side began to impose themselves on the match by dominating the middle of the park with their physicality but chances were hard to come by.
As the first half went on, the game became scrappier as both defences stood firm to the attacks and the half petered out goalless.
In the second half, Chitipa United began strongly as they searched for the vital opener
Emmanuel Muyira and Alisha Nyilongo had efforts shot wide as the away side took the game to karonga.
Realising that they needed to get back a foothold to the game, the Karonga tactician Dan Dzinkambani introduced Moody Geoffrey and Bernard Msiska off the bench to tame the flow of the match in their favour.
Moments later, Dzinkambani was almost rewarded for his brave double substitutions as Msiska narrowly shot over the bar after a clever run.
However, with 18 minutes to go the lions of Chitipa finally made a breakthrough that their enterprising second half merited as Lupakisho Mwalukazinga ruthlessly finished past Karonga goalkeeper Lloyd Munthali after a flowing counter attack.
After being shocked with the goal, the hosts began to dominate the ball and committed more men forward in the hope for an equalizer but Chitipa’s defence stood firm led by the impressive peter Mughogho at the back amid the barrage of crosses in their box.
In the closing stages the away side looked more likely among the two clubs to grab a goal on the counter and Khumbo Nyambi and Shelton Banda both missed glorious chances to extend their led.
Speaking in a post-match interview Chitipa United coach Alex Ngwira, hailed his boys for bouncing back to winning ways.
“I’m very pleased that we have finally tasted a win after a slow start to the league season, today we were fantastic especially from the tactical point of view hence the win is well deserved,” said a happy Ngwira.
However, Dan Dzinkambani, bemoaned his charges’ below par performance in the defeat.
“It was a strange performance by my lads as today we were outplayed by a hungry Chitipa so congrats to them for the hard fought victory,” said a frustrated Dzinkambani.