Wounded Red Lions have a second chance to recapture the TNM Super League leadership and get revenge when facing Moyale Barracks at Mzuzu Stadium today (Monday).
The Lions risk returning empty-handed from Mzuzu if they do not defeat Moyale who ousted the Zomba soldiers from the 2013 Carlsberg Cup with a 1-0 beating on Saturday at the same venue.
As if that was not enough misery, the following day on Sunday, rookies Mzuzu United held the Lions 2-2, effectively denying them an opportunity to leapfrog the league leaders Mighty Wanderers.
The Mike Kumanga men are still third on 25 points one behind the Nomads. Moyale are 10th with 17 points and wind up the first round today.
Yet at Mzuzu stadium on Sunday, the start was bright for the Lions. Dickson Mbetewa Jnr netted his seventh goal of the season to catch up with joint league leading scorer Ishmael Thindwa of Epac FC.
But the Lions’ excitement was short-lived as United, inspired by vocal home support, reorganised themselves and equalised through Peter Kasonga just after a minute.
Kasonga netted after an exchange of neat passes involving man-of-the-match Madalitso Chiumia, Khumbo Ng’ambi and Luckson Mauluka Nyoni.
Kasonga was in lime light again with just a minute before break when he hammered home a terrific short outside the six-yard box, beating the Reds’ ‘keeper Brighton Ngwenyama in process to make it 2-1.
But too much excitement and wastefulness on the part of United cost them full points as the wounded Lions’ Chikoti Chirwa levelled the score in the 75th minute with a fabulous shot from 30 metres and the ball went straight at the far right corner of the net giving ‘keeper Chimwemwe Kumkwawa no chance.
After the equaliser, Lions stepped up the tempo as they hunted for a winner, but the United goalminder poached from Likoma Island frustrated their efforts.
“It’s a relief on our part, we played badly after we were knocked out of Carlsberg Cup on Saturday [by Moyale] and a point is better than none,” said Lions coach Mike Kumanga.
His United counterpart, James Phiri, blamed inexperience for his charges failure to hold on to the lead.
“We always concede goals towards the end, but we hope to improve next round,” Phiri said.
United have nine points from 13 games.
In another league game, Mafco return to Chitowe Stadium to welcome third placed Kamuzu Barracks (KB) on Wednesday. KB has 26 points.