BE Forward Wanderers suffered their first defeat of the 2020/21 TNM Super League season when they were beaten by Mafco FC at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Straight from their Central Region trip where they collected four out of the possible six points, the Lali Lubani boys were favorite to win the game against a side which had already played a match on Saturday.
But it was the same old story as Bob Mpinganjira’s men struggled to break down a stubborn Mafco FC defence despite playing the entire second half with a one man down as Stain Malata was given marching orders by referee Andy Kuseli.
Although this wasn’t what the fans probably anticipated, atleast they expected Wanderers players to pull up their socks and capitalize on one-man advantage but it was another frustrating afternoon for the Blantyre based giants.
Mafco FC created two quick chances inside the opening minutes but Peter Katsonga and Kingsley Khonjera fired wide off William Thole’s goal area.
At the other end, Isaac Kaliyati was given an opportunity to open the scoring when he received a cross from Hankey Machira but the former Mighty Tigers winger headed wide when Jailosi Kapalamula was already beaten in the line of duty.
Just before the half hour mark, the visitors broke the deadlock. A brilliant exchange of passes between Malata, Blessings Phiri and Martin Masoatheka to release Mpata who out-powered Yunus Sherrif to slot home from a close range, 1-0.
As Wanderers supporters expected a response from their team, it was Mafco FC who kept on enjoying ball possession to the dismay of Mpinganjira’s led technical panel.
In the second half, the visitors continued from where they stopped, creating chance after chance but Katsonga was the culprit as he missed another golden opportunity after dismantling Nomads defence which was failing to get organized.
Moments later, Masoatheka should have doubled Mafco FC’s lead when he made his way into Wanderers’ area only to see his shot missing Thole’s goal post with an inch.
It proved to be Mafco’s afternoon and they should have completely killed the game when Phiri and Mpata combined to fire at Thole but the custodian came out top with three great saves.
The visitors were reduced to 10-men when Malata was given marching orders by Kuseli for badmouthing the referee after he awarded Wanderers a freekick in the offensive half.
Wanderers made a tactical change, bringing in Babatunde Adepochu, Aubrey Maloya for Machila, Juma Yatina and Vitumbiko Kumwenda and Alfred Manyozo Jnr while Mafco FC brought in Joseph Donsa, Zikani Sichinga and Emmanuel Chipeta for Masoatheka, Katsonga and Phiri.
This almost paid off to the Nomads who started pressing higher in search for the much needed goals.
Babatunde almost punished the visitors when he forced his way into the box but he was late on the ball as Paul Ndlovu cleared the danger away from his box.
Moments later, Maloya dribbled past Maurice Chiumia and Yohane Malunga but his shot was well blocked by Ndlovu who proved to be a rock in Mafco’s defence.
At the other end, Mpata and Donsa created some chances but playing with one-man down made it very difficult to penetrate as Wanderers regrouped to launch an offensive attack.
Mpinganjira threw his last dice of the day when he pulled out Kaliyati for Rabson Richard but it was too little too late for the hosts to find the equalizer as Mafco FC held on to collect three important points to make it two wins out of two.
The result takes the Salima based military side to the top position with 13 points from seven games while Wanderers drop to 10th position with six points from five games.
In other matches, TN Stars bounced back from their 3-0 defeat to Wanderers last week to beat Blue Eagles 2-1 at Kasungu Stadium.
Chiletso Zoya and China Chirwa scored in the second half to collect maximum points and move into 5th position with nine points from six games.
The defeat leaves Blue Eagles in 11th position with five points from five games.
At Chiwembe Stadium, Mighty Tigers and Moyale Barracks played out to a 1-1 draw courtesy of strikes from Edwin Carlos and Lloyd Njaliwa.
The result means Tigers, who are in 14th position with four points from six games are winless in five matches whilst Moyale Barracks are 15th with two points from five matches.