Though nobody gave them a chance to make it, Blue Eagles yesterday became the first team to book a place in the Airtel Top 8 final after a narrow 1-0 victory over defending champions Silver Strikers at Civo Stadium
A third minute Maxwell Salambula strike was all the Area 30-based Malawi Police Service (MPS) outfit needed to make into the final of the cup.
For Silver, it marked the end to their ambitious quest to defend the cup after winning the inaugural one last year.
The cops stunned the Bankers when Salambula unleashed a thunderbolt inside the 18-yard box just as everyone was settling down for the match, beating jittery Brighton Munthali in Silver goals.
It was a match of two halves as Eagles dominated the first interval through attacking prowess of Salambula John Malidadi, Micium Mhone and VItumbiko Kumwenda.
Silver stepped up their effort to get an equaliser in the second-half masterminded by Khuda Muyaba, who was lethal in his debut for Bankers and partnered well with Green Harawa and Victor Limbani.
But Eagles managed to hang on to the slender lead thanks to fantastic defending of Wonder Jeremani, Alexander Chigawa, Pachalo Kumilonde, Steve Chagoma and man of the match goalkeeper John Soko who denied Silver a second appearance in the final.
Coach DeKlerk Msakakuona in a post match interview thanked his charges for playing according to their game plan.
“This is a great day for us to make it to the final.The boys were disciplined and we managed to to score early and defended the goal. Silver are a great team and we came prepared,” he said.
Silver coach Lovemore Fazili wore a downcast face.
“It is a painful loss. We could have done better. We really wanted to progress to the final. Anyway, congratulation and good luck to Eagles,” he said.
Eagles will face the winner between Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.