Midfielder Duncan Nyoni’s 40-th minute strike sealed Silver Strikers’ qualification into the semi-finals of the Airtel Top 8 and virtually ended Be Forward Wanderers’ revival hopes yesterday at a packed Silver Stadium in Lilongwe.
The Central Bankers have qualified on a 2-0 aggregate, having won the first leg by a similar margin in Blantyre over a fortnight ago and they will face fellow Capital City side Masters Security who winged into the last four on away goal rule at the expense of Kamuzu Barracks (KB).
Wanderers stormed into the match hunting for an early goal. They tested Silver’s defence on a number of occasions.
However, they lacked that killer punch in the final third, mainly because of the communication breakdown between Babatunde Adepoju and Zicco Mkanda.
And their caretaker coach Albert ‘Kika’ Mpinganjira was an animated figure on the touchline, barking instructions to his charges and expressing his frustrations in equal measure. In contrast, his Silver counterpart Lovemore Fazili was an oasis of calm.
The closest the Nomads came to scoring was when Babatunde skipped past three defenders before he was fouled close to the 18-yard box, but the resultant free-kick by Mkanda was cleared by goalkeeper Brighton Munthali.
After the hour mark, Silver settled down and were more industrious going forward. Wingers Duncan Nyoni and Thuso Paipi were a thorn in the visitors’ fresh.
Levison Maganizo, Khuda Muyaba and Nyoni made goal attempts and as the match progressed, Silver broke the deadlock.
Striker Michael Tetteh and Paipi unlocked Wanderers defence on the left side before the latter clipped the ball into the box. Wanderers failed to clear the lines before the ball landed on Nyoni who hooked it into the net, beating goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa.
In a post-match interview, Nomads team manager Stevie Madeira said it is sad that his team failed to realise their dream of turning the tables.
“We did not expect that things would go this way and we understand our supporters’ frustration.
“Indeed the team is not doing well, but they should not reach the point of insulting us, rather we should all join hands and find lasting solutions to the challenges that we are facing,” he said.
This was the Nomads’ third successive loss.
On his part, the Central Bankers’ team manager Itaye Nundwe said his team played according to instructions.
“We knew that Wanderers would come flat out for an early goal, so we came up with a proper game plan. We frustrated their efforts and it worked to perfection,” he said.
At Dedza Stadium, Bernard Chimaimba scored the lone goal that propelled Masters to the semis on away goal rule after settling for a two-all draw aggregate score.
KB won the first leg 2-1 at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe a fortnight ago.