Playing for the first time on a big stage at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday, Mzuzu United surprised many by standing the heat against Blantyre United.
The two teams drew 2-2.
The few fans who watched the game were stunned, then won over as Mzuzu United skipper Lazarus Nyemera harassed and taunted Blantyre United with a goal in either half despite playing as a defensive midfielder.
Displaying rare fearless ball-winning and ball-playing skills, Nyemera was a thorn in the flesh for Blantyre United who could not churn out their neat passing game.
Emerging from the deep, Nyemera thrust out his leg among Blantyre United legs to connect a sweeping cross from the right. The ball was switched from the left to the far corner before it found the target in the 35th minute.
After break, Nyemera was on the score sheet again when he expertly curled the ball into Blantyre United’s net, beating new goalkeeper Peter Munthali, formerly of Chikhwawa United. By that time, the fans had turned into the Mzuzu side’s converts.
Blantyre struggled to impose themselves on the game as they faced a Mzuzu side with similar playing philosophy.
Blantyre should partly bemoan the wastage of Sparrow Msowoya and Tizgobere Kumwenda who missed in terrible fashion.
But after several misses, Blantyre crawled their way back into the game through Osward Maonga on the 77th minute before he assisted Muhamad Sulumba to equalise in the 86th minute.
In a post-match interview, Blantyre coach Elia Kananji once again blamed poor finishing and casual approach to the game.
His counterpart Christopher Nyambose delivered the warning after collecting the first point in two games.
“If teams are to beat us, then they must be prepared to sweat. Blantyre United have escaped with a point today, but they will find us in Mzuzu,” Nyambose said.