Khuda Muyaba scored a stunning free kick in the second half to inspire Silver Strikers to a hard fought 1-1 draw against log leaders Be Forward Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium and blow the title race wide open.
It was an enthralling afternoon of football in the commercial city of Blantyre but by the end of the day, the two teams shared one point apiece, with the hosts left disappointed as their 7 point lead was cut to just two points.
As expected, the two heavyweights felt each other out in the opening 10 minutes with the Central Bankers, who enjoyed quick and neat passing exchanges, eventually looking the slicker of the two sides.
The first chance fell to Muyaba who was found one on one with Nenani Juwaya in goals for the Nomads but the former Moyale Barracks forward fired straight at the goalkeeper to disappoint the visiting fans.
Moments later, it was Wanderers’ turn to test Brighton Munthali who didn’t disappoint as he kept Isaac Kaliyati’s header with a fantastic save for a corner, from which Lucky Malata was denied by Thuso Paipi who cleared the ball before crossing the line.
With less than a minute to go before the interval, the hosts took a lead in a dramatic fashion.
Yunus Sherrif gave away possession in his own half to Babatunde Adepoju who wasted no time to find Francisco Madinga right inside the penalty box to smash the ball past Munthali, 1-0.
The Nomads could have doubled the lead through Kaliyati whose low cross drive was deflected for a corner.
In the second half, the midfield battle intensified between Young Chimodzi Jnr and Alfred Manyozo Jnr, with the visitors’ confidence growing by every minute.
The Nomads brought in Peter Katsonga for ineffective Zicco Mkanda but the intensity of the match slowed down.
Babatunde should have doubled the lead. A smooth Felix Zulu’s turn in the right flank of the field led to a well-timed Madinga’s through ball, but Babatunde could not find the target.
With clock ticking very fast, Abbas Makawa made a double substitution, bringing in Jack Chiona and Mphatso Phillimon for Paipi and Mike Tetteh.
Then the dangerous Babatunde fired two warning shots but both were off target.
The Bankers were high on confidence and doing the majority of the attacking.
Soon after that, they were rewarded when Muyaba fired straight from a free kick when Tete was brought down by Peter Cholopi just outside the penalty box.
The goal helped the Bankers spring into life and at first, there was beautiful interplay between Duncan Nyoni, Levison Maganizo but the latter’s low effort missed the goal mouth with inches.
With less than 10 minutes to play, Mike Kaziputa came in for Kaliyati but it was too little too late to make any impact as the visitors held on for a point, collecting four points out of the possible six in their two away from home assignment.
As for the Nomads, the draw has seen their seven point gap being cut to just two points following Nyasa Big Bullets’ successful tour of the Northern Region where they collected six points from their two assignments.
At Civo Stadium, Kamuzu Barracks and Blue Eagles played out to a goalless draw while TN Stars were 3-1 winners over relegation threatened Ntopwa FC.