Mighty Wanderers lost 2-0 to hosts Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu on Sunday, but the Nomads wound up the first round still clinging to the summit of the TNM Super League for the first time since 2007.
Deus Nkutu and Crispin Fukizi’s goals floored the Nomads, who after thumping Mzuzu United at the same Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday climbed to the top on 27 points, one point ahead of second-placed Kamuzu Barracks (KB).
In a post-match interview, Wanderers team manager Chiyembekezo Zidana described the match as exciting, but faulted referee Aziz Nyirenda for spoiling the show.
“The manner in which the first goal was awarded affected our players. He blew for an infringement on our goalkeeper and, yet, when a Moyale player shot into the net, the referee allowed it. This should not sound like an excuse, but the referee messed up things; we continued to play out of a sportsmanship spirit,” Zidana said.
The soldiers are now placed 10th on 17 points.
Moyale assistant coach Themba Ntontholo seemed to agree with Zidana that the referee was inconsistent in his decisions.
At Dedza Stadium, Ben Hojani scored twice and World Nkuliwa added the other as KB edged Evirom 3-2 to move to second spot on the table on 26 points.
Deposed leaders Red Lions are still on 24 points, just like fifth-placed Blue Eagles. Taonga Munthali and Zikhole Ngulube scored for Evirom.
In Lilongwe, Jafali Chande netted once and Mussa Manyenje a double as Epac trounced Civo United 3-0, cutting short the civil servants’ celebrations of having beaten Evirom 3-1 the previous day.
Manyenje, who was outstanding throughout the match, scored the first goal in the 37th minute.
The goal followed an exchange of passes between Manyenje and Dalitso Mwase which split the hosts’ defence.
The diminutive Epac forward scored his second goal in the 53rd minute through a solo effort.
He dribbled past Civo’s defence marshalled by Charles Ben and company and beat Phiri in a one-to-one situation to make it 2-0.
Chande put the game beyond the hosts with a powerful shot in the 75th minute.
“We completely lost concentration in the second half. They [Epac] deserved to win the game. I must congratulate them,” said Civo coach Thom Mkolongo.
Epac coach Abbas Makawa said his strategy was to play an attacking game.
Epac moved two steps up to seventh on 20 points whereas Civo are eighth on 18 points and have also completed their first round matches.
At the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, Mponela United fought back to hold Blantyre United 1-1 in an entertaining game which Dowa legislator Dr. Jean Kalirani watched from the VIP Stand.
Osward Maonga slammed in the opener after 37 minutes.