Karonga United Football Club, popularly known in Karonga as Ingwina ShamwaKaronga in Kiyangonde, is through to the finals of the 2019 Airtel Top 8 Cup after beating Mzuni FC 5-4 on post match penalties on Saturday at Mzuzu Stadium.
This was the first time in the history of the two teams to reach the semi finals of the Airtel Top 8 Cup and so history has again been made as Karonga United will, for the first time ever, play in the finals of this particular tournament.
There were no clear chances for both teams in the first half although Karonga United attacked more than Mzuni with beautiful passes and dominance in possession but the defence for Mzuni led by their captain, Lughano Kayira, was solid and difficult to break.
The game lost excitement in the second half as there was a lot of kick and run for both sides but notable chances again fell for Karonga United.
In the 67th minute, Gule Mwaluswa’s hard and low shot from the left was clinically saved by Mzuni goalkeeper Francis Mkanda.
Gule was in front of Mzuni goal again in the 76th minute and although he had a tight angle on the right, his close range shot missed the target with a whisker as the ball glided over the cross bar and went out for a goal kick.
As full time approached, both teams changed their goalkeepers; and indication that those who were on the benches were better penalty shot stoppers than those that played for over 80 minutes in open play. Francis Mkanda left the Mzuni goal for Leonard Manda while Happy Msowoya paved way for Lloyd Munthali.
Full regulation time 90 plus added minutes remained elusive and referee Agnes Chamaere had to call for post match penalties to decide the winner.
Suzgo Mwakasinga, Rhamadan Ntafu, Gift Kasambara and Maxwell Gasten scored Mzuni’s first four penalty kicks while Gadi Chirwa’s fifth kick was saved by goalkeeper Lloyd Munthali.
For Karonga United, Chrispin Mhango, Aziz Mwakifuna and Gentulo Andreas converted Karonga United’s first three kicks, Lusekero Malema had his saved by goalkeeper Leonard Manda but William Mwalwimba scored his. It was therefore 4-4 after the first five.
Then Chifuniro Gombwa and Mathews Salirana missed two extra penalties for Mzuni FC while Captain Khumbo Msowoya missed the sixth penalty for Karonga United but Misheck Selemani scored the seventh penalty kick for Karonga United.
It ended 4-5 in favour of Karonga United but Mzuni FC captain, Lughano Kayira, was voted man of the match and was given a cheque of K50, 000.00.
Speaking after the match, Mzuni FC coach Gilbert Chirwa congratulated Karonga United, adding that it was not Mzuni’s day.
The winning coach, Dan Dzimkambani, said it was a very tough match and thanked his players and supporters who kept chanting for the entire 90 minutes.
“We wanted to seal the game within 90 minutes but Mzuni was defending very well and never gave us a chance to get a goal. Our aim is to grab this cup,” explained Dzimkambani.
Karonga United will face Silver Strikers in the finals. The Bankers beat Masters Security by a goal to nil in the semi finals.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :