Azam Tigers missed the chance to move to the top of the TNM Super League as Blue Eagles fought back to earn a deserved point on Saturday at Kamuzu Stadium at an empty Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
With only one Super League game on Saturday, as other teams were on break, Tigers knew victory would see them occupying the top slot but visiting Eagles frustrated them.
The result leaves Tigers occupying third position on eight points but without a win at home this season.
Eagles occupy second place also with similar points and a superior goal-aggregate. Mafco lead on nine points.
Tigers looked on course when Yamikani Chester gave them a 21 minutes lead, but Blue Eagles showed great resilience and commitment to claim a draw through midfielder Philip Masiye’s wonder goal from range in the 25th minute.
The Kau-Kau boys were causing major problems down Blue Eagles left flank, where John Malidadi jnr was affording Steven Chagoma little or no protection giving Yamikani Chester enough room to manoeuvre.
Blue Eagles, who missed the services of Micium Mhone and John Banda, who are in Zambia with the Flames showed plenty of resolve although they did less to keep Nenani Juwawo busy in goals.
With that draw, it means the Eagles had failed to defeat Tigers in a third consecutive league game.
Yet, Eagles thought they had scored in a matter of seconds from the opening whistle, but Maxwell Salambula’s effort was ruled off-side inside the opening minute.
The game descended into boring defending mode with Masiye starving Tigers’ Diverson Chilemba of any ball, thereby cutting the supplies to twin striker Peter Katsonga.
However, Katsonga had his presence felt when he fired hard and long for Eagles goalkeeper John Soko to spill the ball for Chester to finish neatly.
The lead was short-lived though as Masiye scored spectacularly with a long range shot from close to the centre circle.
Little did the fans realise that would be the last goal as the second half had Masiye and Gilbert Chirwa pumping long balls forward with man-of-the-match Patrick Thupi also doing likewise for Tigers.
Peter Kansonga and Diverson Chilemba had an opportunity to turn the game on its head completely but their shots were blocked by Blue Eagles keeper when it seemed certain they would put the hosts ahead.
Both teams needed the win and it took some frantic Tigers defending to block Schumacher Kuwali and John Malidadi when they found space in the area.
Tigers coach Gerald Phiri Snr said Blue Eagles were playing “long balls from defence to striking force.”
He said the system the cops uses did not allow Tigers to play their usual game.
“The played us out of the game and frustrated us most with a drawm,” he said.
Phiri called it a “bad result.”
Assistant coach for the Eagles Wilson Chidati dismissed Phiri’s claims of long-ball game, saying they played “ fast and zone football” which made the hosts not to cope.
“Football is not a walk in the park. We run and put the ball forward for strikers to search for goals,” he said.
Chidati said draw was a befitting result.
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