The chase for the TNM Super League title looks certain to go down to the wire after leaders Be Forward Wanderers and second-placed Nyasa Big Bullets were held to 1-1 draws by Lilongwe-based Civil Sporting Club and Silver Strikers, respectively, yesterday.
The Nomads consolidated their one-point lead as they took their tally to 59 from 26 games in the 16-team league while the People’s Team continue to breathe down their necks with 58 points but have played a game more.
On the other hand, Silver are getting out of the picture as they now have 52 points from 27 matches on third position and only a miracle could see them win the title as their maximum points are now at 61.
At Balaka Stadium, a perfect result appeared to be within touching distance for the Nomads as they led 1-0, but there was to be a sting in the tail when Civil pulled level with nine minutes to full time.
After a goalless first-half which failed to stir the passions, the Nomads surged ahead in the 54th minute, albeit in bizarre circumstances.
A goal melee led to the Nomads’ sniper Jaffalie Chande ghosting in like a sneak thief to dink the ball deftly into the net after it had hit the upright.
The goal appeared to have inspired the Lali Lubani Road outfit as they forced the Lilongwe-based side into rearguard action. But against the run of play, Sporting Club levelled the scores through Righteous Banda’s thunderous shot that gave the Nomads goaltender Nenani Juwaya no chance.
In a post-match interview, Wanderers coach Yasin ‘Titch’ Osman admitted that his team did not rise to the occasion.
“We didn’t play well. It was clear from the start that Sporting Club did not come to win, but to defend. The mistake we made was that we started to play their game. As a result, we have missed a chance to regain a four-point lead. The solace though, is that Bullets—who are also hot contenders for the title—have also drawn.”
His Civil counterpart, Franco Ndawa, was satisfied with the outcome.
“We knew it was going to be tough because Wanderers wanted to consolidate their position at the top,” he said.
At Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo, Chikwawa, Bullets coach Eliah Kananji rued missed chances, especially in the first-half in which they created a plethora of chances but failed to make them count.
Muhammad Sulumba. Fischer Kondowe, Mussa Manyenje and Kondwani ‘Scholes’ Kumwenda were all guilty of terrible wastage.
TNM Super League leading scorer Mathews Sibale put Silver ahead in the 35th minute when he headed home a curling cross from Thuso Paipi to take his tally to 14.
Sensing danger, Bullets stepped up their game and got a reward two minutes into the second-half when Nelson Kangunje equalised from a rebound after Bright Munthali’s effort was denied by the woodwork.
After the match, Kananji said: “We missed several scoring chances. In fact, we should have scored five goals in the first half.” n