Kamuzu Barracks (KB) took control of their Airtel Top 8 quarter-final tie after coming from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over Masters Security in the first leg at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday.
Masters led on the half hour mark after referee Godfrey Nkhakananga awarded them a penalty following Nation Halazi’s handball in the 18-yard box. Juma Yatina clinically converted it with a low hard drive.
In the second half, KB drew level through Halazi before Chimwemwe Chisambi put them in front.
It was a massive relief for the hosts’ coach Billy Phambala, who throughout the match, was an animated figure on the touchline, barking instructions while, time and again, voicing his displeasure at some refereeing decisions.
The return match on May 14 at Dedza Stadium will surely have much action in it as Masters coach Abas Makawa has promised to fight back.
“We will build on this away go and hopefully we will triumph at the end of the two matches,” he said.
Makawa, however, blamed officiation claiming that the referees were threatened at half time which “led them into making decisions under fear”.
But Phambala attributed their win to tactical decisions.
“We made some crucial substitutions which helped to twist the game in our favour. We will go back to the drawing board to strategise how to win at their back yard,” he said.
The opening exchanges in the first half saw both sides pushing to seize control of the match. It was KB which settled first as they made a few attacking moves, albeit fruitless ones.
When Masters had recovered from the heavy bombardment, they attacked with energy as tireless Mussa Manyenje troubled the hosts’ defence.
When they led through that penalty, which was clear in the eyes of many, it was a deserved lead.
But KB resilience that ensured the victory means both sides have allot to offer in the second contest.