Silver Strikers have moved to the top of the log table despite a one-all draw against capital city rivals Civo United at Silver Stadium yesterday.
It was a game which lived up to its billing as the most anticipated Capital City derby as Silver failed to strike back in the first round defeat.
Although the game was played in slow tempo for most of the first half, both teams managed to create several chances.
But Silver’s confidence and experience paid off as Blessings Tembo and Frank Banda combined well to beat Civo’s defence and take the lead.
The goal came in the 43rd minute after Tembo dispossessed Willard Dickson of the ball to pass it to Banda whose shot hit the post deflecting into the net past Tione Tembo.
It was a relief for Silver who had missed good chances earlier. They have moved top with 46 points from 22, a point better than Nyasa Big Bullets who have a game in hand.
Banda could have had a brace in the first half, but his effort hit the woodwork.
Silver marksman Maxwell Gaten Phodo failed to give his side a lead in the 15th minute with the visitors’ goalkeeper Tione Tembo to beat, but he shot marginally wide.
Phodo, who was with the national team in South Africa and arrived on Friday, was given a starting berth.
Civo also had chances through Christopher Kumwembe and Innocent Tanganyika, but Silver Strikers goalkeeper Charles Thom saved his team on both occasions.
In the 40th minute, he stretched to stop a Tanganyika hard drive. The Civil Servants introduced Muhammad Sulumba at the start of the second half who replaced Christopher Kumwembe and made an immediate impact.
He came close to scoring soon after coming in when he headed over from a Chikondi Maloya free-kick.
But Sulumba made it right in the 64th minute to equalise and deflate the Central Bankers.
The goal was a typical result of team work, emerging from loss of concentration from Silver players who thought the goal had gone out.
But Damiano Kunje kept it in play and crossed to Maloya who passed on to Sulumba to score.
The hosts lost rhythm after the goal and they tried to change the course of the game by introducing four players at once.
In the 72nd minutes Silver coach Dan Kabwe substituted Duncan Nyoni, Levison Maganizo, Blessings Tembo and Maxwell Phodo for Patrick Macheso, Chisinsi Maonga, Thuso Paipi and Zebron Kalima, respectively.
The tact paid off but the hosts failed to score the winning goal.
Kabwe did not hide his disappointment with the draw after the final whistle.
He said: “It’s disappointing looking at the way we started the game and the chances we had. A win could have been a better result. But we played a team that came to compete so we have to be happy that we didn’t lose either.”
His counterpart Franco Ndawa applauded his charges for the fighting spirit.
Meanwhile, at Mpira Stadium, Ntopwa United registered the first league match victory under female coach Karen Chaula, beating Red Lions 2-1. Hendrix Misinde scoring a brace and Royal Bokosi gave the Zomba-based soldiers false hopes by scoring first.
At Karonga Stadium, Chitipa United held Blue Eagles to a one-draw in another league match.