The entertainment was compelling, the drama was ceaseless and four of the five goals were scored from penalties awarded by no-nonsense referee Mabvuto Msimuko as Blue Eagles beat Mighty Wanderers 4-3 on Saturday.
Blue Eagles has thus qualified for the quarter-finals of the K20 million Carlsberg Cup in a game that took place at Balaka Stadium in eastern Malawi.
Â At Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo, Azam Tigers inflicted a sweet revenge on Moyale Barracks with a deserved 2-0 victory to reach the last eight of the showpiece. Moyale were responsible for Tigersâ€™ exit from the Presidential Cup.
In the Balaka encounter, the cops appeared to be in comfort zone as they led 3-0 at some point in the second half, but the Nomads reorganised themselves in the last 20 minutes and scored two goals, but it was too little too late.
And in the end, it was the copsâ€™ blue that stood out to send ganyu fans into frenzy after the final whistleâ€”it certainly calls for a carlsberg!
Innocent Bokosi scored the first goal for Eagles with a header in the eighth minute and it was the only strike from open play. From then on, the drama was ceaseless as the fans witnessed four goals from the spot.
At the dot of half time, Eagles went two up when Nomads defender Francis Mulimbika was adjudged to have handled in the goal area and from the resultant penalty, Patrick Masanjala made no mistake.
The Eagles marksman Charles Ngosi put the game beyond the Nomads reach in the 60th minute through another penalty. It was awarded after Nomads goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa recklessly tackled Ngosi.
Chipuwa was shown the red card and the Nomads had to pull out one on-field player for Vales Kamzere to guard the posts.
Sensing danger, the Nomads started gaining momentum towards the very end and their midfield star Joseph Kamwendo scored a double from sport-kick. The penalties were awarded following fouls.
The Nomads fought for an equaliser and Victor Mpinganjira fluffed a golden chance with only a few minutes to full time.
However, after the match, the stadium turned into a battlefield as Nomads fans bayed for referee Msimukoâ€™s blood and a police officer is reported to have been seriously injured during the fracas and had to be rushed to hospital.
Eagles coach Deklerk Msakakuona admitted that it was a tough game.
â€œIt was a very tough game and Wanderers forced us into rearguard action towards the end, but we held on. I am very happy that we are through to the quarter-finals,â€ said a visibly relieved Msakakuona.
Nomads team manager Chiyembekezo Zidana accepted defeat, but blamed the referee for the loss.
â€œI think there should have been more added time because there were a number of stoppages. I am sure we would have equalised,â€ said Zidana.
In Nchalo, the toast of the afternoon for Tigers were Moses Nankumba and Clement Ngâ€™ombe.
Nankumba scored with a 20-metre drive after being invitingly fed into his path by Ngâ€™ombe before the latter sealed the win with a simple connection.
However, Tigers played the better part of the second half with 10 men after Asedi Ajasi was shown the red card.
Tigers coach Leo Mpulula was delighted with the win.
â€œI am very impressed with the level of performance, if we continue like this then we will get far in this competition,â€ said Mpulula.