Azam Tigers yesterday scaled to the summit of the TNM Super League table after a 2-0 win over champions Be Forward Wanderers at Mulanje Park.
The Kau-Kau Boys, who are enjoying a rich vein of form, are tied on 10 points with Nyasa Big Bullets who edged returnees Nchalo United 2-1 at Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo, Chikwawa, but Tigers have a better goal difference of plus six compared to Bullets’ plus four. The teams have played four games each.
Tigers were in the comfort zone in the first half in which they scored both goals through Chikaiko Baxton and Luke Chima and their technical director Robin Alufandika said the victory is a warning to other teams.
“We haven’t yet reached the level where we want to be, but slowly, we are getting there.
“As I said prior to the match, we want to turn Mulanje Park into our fortress and other teams should watch out. That said, I thank the boys for playing according to instructions. Wanderers were in Mulanje, they tried to climb [Mulanje] Mountain, but could not reach Sapitwa Peak,” he said.
It was the first loss for the Nomads, who have dropped to sixth from fifth in the 16-team league. They have seven points from four games.
Nomads coach Yasin ‘Titch’ Osman said his charges were out of sorts in the first half.
“I think the biggest problem we had was that we underrated them. We were very poor in the first half, we should have pressurised them right from the start.
“But the tempo changed after half-time pep-talk and we pinned Tigers in their half. We created a number of good chances but we missed, including hitting the post,” he said.
In Nchalo, Chiukepo Msowoya put Bullets ahead in the 15th minute when he tapped in a diagonal pass from Precious Phiri in the 18-yard box.
But Nchalo restored parity nine minutes later through Osman Balala who connected home a low cross from right winger Ishmael Ziyembe for the first half to end 1-1.
It was a balanced affair for the better part of the game until Patrick Phiri scored the late winner for Bullets with two minutes to the final whistle. He weaved his way through a forest of defenders before finishing it off with a lob over goalkeeper Davie Pashani.
In a post-match interview, a visibly relieved Bullets assistant coach Elia Kananji said: “We are happy that we have managed to collect full points from this game. Otherwise, it was a tough affair.”
Nchalo coach Charles Manda, whose side has maintained ninth place with four points from five games, attributed their defeat to inexperience.
“We wanted to hold Bullets but we failed due to lack of experience of most of our players. All the same, we will go back to the drawing board to do better in our next assignments,” he said.
At Nankhaka Stadium in Lilongwe, Blue Eagles thumped Masters Security 4-0 to go up two places to fifth. They now have seven points from five games.
Phillip Masiye drew first blood for the Malawi Police Service (MPS)-sponsored outfit before John Malidadi Jnr grabbed a brace while Alexander Chigawa netted the fourth. n
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CLEMENT CHINOKO, STAFF REPORTER