Silver Strikers yesterday beat Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0 in Airtel Top 8 quarter-finals first leg at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe while Moyale Barracks stunned Mafco 2-0 at Chitowe Stadium, in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota.
Although Bullets had better possession and scoring opportunities, it was Victor Limbani’s 83rd minute goal that made the difference.
Bullets started strongly with striker Diverson Mlozi missing a golden opportunity just a minute into the game.
Silver replied with a split pass from Thuso Paipi which found unmarked Ghanaian striker Michael Tetteh, but he was too hesitant to shoot past Ernest Kakhobwe who had left his goal post and Fodya dispossessed him.
Tetteh fluffed another golden chance in the 23rd minute after being played in by Levison Maganizo.
Bullets countered and nearly got a goal in the 34th minute after Bright Munthali dribbled past Silver defence, but goalie Brighton Munthali blocked his effort and Mike Mkwate shot over from the rebound.
Silver made three changes substituting striker Green Harawa for Blessings Tembo, Levison Maganizo for Limbani and Tetteh for Timothy Chitedze, but it was Bullets who still threatened.
Bullets coach Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan made three changes, pulling out Mlozi for Muhammad Sulumba, Kondwani Kumwenda for Bernard Chimayimba and Mkwate for Henry Kabichi, but no immediate impact was registered.
Yamikani Fodya headed the ball into his own net in the 57th minute, but referee Mabvuto Msimuko ruled out the goal and instead gave Bullets a free-kick for a push on the defender.
Bullets continued to mess up chances when substitute Sulumba unmarked in the box with Silver goalkeeper Munthali out of position, but he shot over, sparking anger from Bullets fans.
It was Silver who hit the target through former Bullets forward Limbani in seven minutes from time. Limbani was well-positioned in Bullets box to slot into the net after Kakhobwe fumbled a dipping free-kick taken by Mark Fodya.
“It is a painful loss considering how we controlled the game and the opportunities we created. We just need to get our act together and win the return leg, “ said Bullets coach Ramadan.
His counterpart Lovemore Fazil admitted being out-played.
“The important thing is that we won and just need to do better again in the return leg,” said Fazili.