TNM Super League debutants, Ekwendeni Hammers, were on fire on Sunday at Mzuzu Stadium when they hammered visiting Ntopwa Football Club 3-1 after a string of consecutive losses since returning from the Covid-19 break.
With Brian Phiri on the left flank and Khumbo Nyirenda on the right, the home side were so offensive right from the first whistle causing problems for the visiting defence comprised of Mark Lameck, Glem Lemera, Lloyd Mugara and Kingsley Beni.
Decisive free kicks by Eneya Banda and Captain Erick Kaonga in the 25th and 38th minutes respectively, failed to beat in form goalkeeper Elias Misi for Ntopwa who pulled marvellous saves throughout the first half.
Ntopwa boys were however composed, playing their usual passing game on the floor and their first notable chance came in the 30th minute when Ellard Chigwetsa’s shot from close range was saved by goalkeeper Chakonda Majanga. It ended a barren first half.
Hammers got their much-anticipated goal in the 55th minute. Sammy Phiri’s beautiful cross from the left found Chawanangwa Gumbo well positioned and his fantastic header sent the keeper the wrong way.
Resilient Amaghetto Kids cancelled the lead six minutes later through Ellard Chigwetsa’s powerful volley from 30 metres, which poorly positioned Hammers keeper failed to tame.
Gumbo was on song again after 77 minutes as he registered a brace after receiving a decent through ball in a move that was initiated by Clever Kaira.
Kaira hammered the last nail on Ntopwa’s coffin on the dot of 90 minutes when he easily but craftly nodded yet another beautiful cross from substitute Edgar Mgagana into the visitors’ net.
Chawanangwa Gumbo for Hammers was named player of the match.
Speaking after the match, owner, coach and Technical Director for Ntopwa FC, Isaac Jomo Osman, said he was very pleased with the way his charges approached the game despite the loss.
“My players put up a gallant fight but I think it wasn’t our day. The muddy pitch especially in the second half when it showered also disturbed our pattern of play.
“We will keep fighting in the second round and the few mistakes noted will surely be rectified,” remarked Jomo Osman.
The winning coach, Etson Kadenge Mwafulirwa, said it was a very tough game against Ntopwa.
“Ntopwa is quite a good side. It wasn’t easy to bag the three points. They are a tactical team similar to a disease caused by a virus whereby when you think you have found a remedy to the virus, the virus changes form and continue giving you problems. Several times they changed their formation or system of play and it was not easy defeat them.
“My players seem to have recovered from the losses we have been suffering and I hope we can do well in the remaining two first round games in Lilongwe,” explained Mwafulirwa.
Hammers are still on position 4 with 22 points from 13 games while Ntopwa FC has wound up the first round on position 11 with 14 points from 15 games. Ntopwa boys return to their base in Bangwe, Blantyre with no point from their two crucial assignments in Mzuzu.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :