Mighty Be Forward Wanderers on Saturday put behind their Super League woes and produced a classic performance at Kamuzu Stadium to edge Red Lions 1-0 and storm into the Standard Bank Knockout Cup semi-final.
Coming from back-to-back league losses, the pressure on coach Elia Kananji was just enormous, but thanks to a Luka Milanzi’s ninth minute fine finish, the Nomads have booked a date with Blue Eagles in the semi-final.
The Malawi Police Service (MPS) side booted out defending champions Silver Strikers through a Gilbert Chirwa’s lone goal.
The Nomads victory means their dream of a treble is still much alive.
Credit should go to Malumbo Gondwe. He did much of the donkey work, beating Lions defence in the box before laying it for Muhammad Sulumba who cut it back to in-form Milanzi, for the striker to calmly curve it past outstretched Lions goalkeeper Jacob Kaunda.
Coach Kananji made some few changes to his squad but maintained impressive Richard Chipuwa in goals with Stanley Sanudi, Kondwani Lufeyo, Peter Nselema and Ted Sumani in defence.
The combination was superb as Lions rarely troubled the Nomads area.
Current Super League top goalscorer, Innocent Bokosi, was closely monitored by Lufeyo and only had a shot off target in fourth minute.
His partner Clever Kaipa also shot wide from a tight angle as the soldiers dominated play in the opening minutes of the game.
Midfielder Ndaona Limbani also broke the hearts of Lions’ technical panel as he blasted over with just the goalkeeper to beat.
But Wanderers soon took control of the game using the superiority in the midfield of Ibrahim Sadiki, Isaac Kaliati, Gondwe and Kondwani Kumwenda.
With Lions midfielders Benisi Kayisi, Steve Ziba, Edwin Ng’oma and Limbani struggling to keep the ball, Wanderers’ passing game disoriented Lions’ back-four of Chikoti Chirwa, Innocent Mlima, Mphatso Ngwira and Gibson Nkhonjera.
The Nomads must blame themselves for scoring just a goal when Sulumba had plenty of opportunities after being fed by Kaliati and Sadik .
Come second-half, Wanderers sat back and defended a lot, allowing the Lions to roam freely.
But it just wasn’t their day as Limbani was denied by the post after heading from a Ziba cross deep in the second-half.
After the game, coach Kananji said the most important thing was that they had won the game and were chasing the treble dream.
“We need to thank God for the victory after back-to-back losses in the Super League,” Kananji said after the match.n