Mighty Be Forward Wanderers title’s hopes were dealt a heavy blow after they conceded a late penalty in an extraordinary finish against Red Lions at the Zomba Community Centre Ground on Wednesday to draw 1-1 and drop two points.
The Nomads thought they had earned a vital win when Jaffali Chande slotted in a Joseph Kamwendo’s pass.
But seven minutes later referee Benedicto Chongwa awarded a controversial penalty to Red Lions to allow Innocent Bokosi to grab a Reds equaliser from the spot.
And the dramatic equaliser from the Reds is a bodyblow to Wanderers who briefly thought they had revived their chances of catching teams in front of them.
The Nomads are on position 9 with 25 points, seven points behind leaders Blue Eagles who have 34 points.
Up until Chande’s penalty, it was also a game in which the visitors had only provided more weight to criticism that they are pretty without being penetrative, as they had been repelled by an under-strength but resilient Red Lions outfit.
When play did get under way, the Nomads need for a win to maintain their title challenge put the emphasis on them to attack, while Red Lions tried to soak up the pressure and catch their rivals on the counter-attack.
Red Lions tactics were almost ruined as early as the fourth minute when Peter Wadabwa beat Chikoti Chirwa but Jaffali Chande’s glanced his header narrowly wide.
The soldiers through Loti Chawinga had the task of testing how the Nomads back-line would deal with the kind of physical threat the home side have previously struggled against.
Chawinga got his head to a number of balls, only to fail to test the Nomads keeper Richard Chipuwa, who was outstanding in goals.
To Wanderers credit they managed to limit Chawinga and Bokosi’s threat but, despite dominating possession, they failed to find a way through a Nomads rearguard which had seen Stanely Sanudi paving the way to Wongani Kaipa due to two yellow cards.
For all of Wanderers passing and probing they almost went ahead from set piece, when a Joseph Kamwendo corner was headed against the crossbar by Wadabwa.
Wanderers intricacy was being repelled by Red Lions resilience, with Chikoti Chirwa having to block an angled shot by overlapping Nomads right-back Wongani Kaipa.
On recess time it was 0-0.
In the second half, Wanderers responded with Francis Mlimbika chipping a shot over the on-rushing Clement Mlombwa but too high, then heading wide at the near post and finally having a shot saved when one-on-one with the Reds keeper.
A sigh of relief to the Nomads came in the last 10 minutes of the game when Chande scored from a Kamwendo’s pass giving hope to the Lali-Lubani boys of maximum points, but alas! A controversial penalty was awarded to Red Lions who netted through Innocent Bokosi.
Four minutes to wrap up the game, Chande was brought down inside the box, but referee awarded a free kick which went over the bar from Mlimbika.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :