The plan for Masters Security was to exercise damage limitation, but it was not a particularly successful one as they were held to a goalless draw by Angolan side Atletico Petroleos de Luanda yesterday at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
And so it is Petro Atletico who qualify for the first round of the CAF Confederation Cup on a 5-0 aggregate, having gotten it over and done with in the first leg tie in Luanda.
Masters were in control of the proceedings, forcing their visitors into rearguard action. They fashioned no fewer than three-clear-cut chances, but sadly, failed to make them count and in the end, it was Atletico’s defensive game plan that worked to perfection.
Masters coach Abbas Makawa minced no words, saying the result would have been different if their preparations were not affected by a training boycott.
“Had we trained adequately, the result would have been different. We would not have turned the tables, but surely we could have won by one or two goals,” he said.
Nevertheless, Makawa saluted his charges for playing their lungs out throughout the match.
“We have learnt a lot from the two games both tactically and technically. Hopefully, we can build from this,” he said.
His counterpart Beto Bianchi also hailed Masters for playing with renewed purpose.
“I think in Angola they struggled because the pitch was slippery, but here they put up a superb performance and kept us on the back foot.
“Generally, they have a good youthful side and hopefully they can build on,” he said.
Buoyed up by the home fans who cheered them on unceasingly, Masters disturbed the visitors with their rhythm, denying them any space.
The midfield of Rafiq Mussa, Richard Chande and Gerard Mkungula was compact, thwarting the visitors’ attempts to play.
In the first half, the hosts created four chances from set pieces—two of them from direct play—but the last touch was off the mark.
The visitors gradually came into the game, making inroads and hushing the partisan crowd into silence.
In the first five minutes of the second half, they had three shots on goal and nearly scored with the third had it not been for the agility of Chimwemwe Kumkwawa in goals for the hosts.
Wilson, Tresor and Taogo Azulao were the main threat from the Angolan outfit. n