Two minutes to time, Silver Strikers won a penalty and captain Lucky Malata carried his team’s expectations of drawing level with Be Forward Wanderers to keep their title hopes alive, but all went up in smoke when goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa saved the spot-kick.
Had Malata scored at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre yesterday, the Bankers could still have a slender opportunity of winning the 2016 TNM Super League crown, but with a 2-3 defeat by the Nomads, they cannot even reach as far as the second place even if they win their last game.
Silver have now slid back by a step to fourth place on 53 points and should now shift focus to battle for a third place alongside Blue Eagles, who are now third on 54 points, following a 1-0 triumph over fellow soldiers Mafco at Nankhaka ground in Lilongwe yesterday.
This year’s campaign is now a two-horse race between leaders Kamuzu Barracks (KB) and second-placed defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets. These title contenders also remain with a game apiece and they are on 58 points and 57 points respectively; tallies the Bankers cannot reach.
This is how Silver coach Lovemore Fazili expressed his frustration after the match: “I can say this was probably the simplest match to win in the entire season, but we lacked the zeal and composure to convert the numerous chances we had into goals. This is painful, but there is nothing we can do now.”
Isaac Kaliati put Wanderers ahead in the 17th minute with a beautiful strike from the edge of the box before Blessings Tembo restored parity for the Bankers 20 minutes later with a simple finish.
Nevertheless, it only took two minutes for the Nomads to reclaim the lead through Joseph Kamwendo. He curved the ball into the far corner from outside the box for the first half to end 2-1.
In the 64th minute super substitute Jaffalie Chande made it 3-1 with a header following a wonderful cross from Kamwendo on the left flank.
Silver’s Binwell Katinji reduced the arrears to 3-2 in the 73rd minute when he sent Chipuwa the wrong way after some neat one-two passes with Duncan Nyoni.
Two minutes to the final whistle, Bongani Kaipa seemingly handled the ball in the box and it was a penalty for Silver. But Malata’s attempt was saved by Chipuwa and Green Harawa’s effort on the rebound bounced off the post.
Wanderers are stuck on sixth place with 48 points and are in battle for fifth place alongside Mafco, who have 50 points.
In another game, Moyale Barracks thrashed Epac FC 4-0 at Mzuzu Stadium to remain seventh on the table with 47 points. n