Azam Tigers FC on Sunday, August 24, 2013 completed the Standard Bank Knock-out Cup final pair after edging Mafco FC 7-6 in post-match penalties during a semi-final clash at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe.
The match went into the dreaded penalty shoot-outs after the two teams had played a 1-all draw in regulation time. Red-hot striker Gomezgani Gondwe put Tigers in front after only seven minutes but Mafco replied in first-half added time through Paul Ndlovu.
Zomba based referee Denis Ngulube added seven minutes in the first half, having stopped the game towards the end of the half to allow injured Tigers’ first choice goalkeeper Thomas Kalavina receive first aid treatment. Kalavina did not continue with the game and was replaced by Nenani Juwawo.
Mafco also swapped first goalkeeper Jailos Kapalamula with Frank Kansimo on the dot of full time in readiness for the penalties but the move never paid dividends. Both Kansiamo and his opposite number Juwawo did not save any sport-kick.
As penalties were about to be taken, Mafco coach Stereo Gondwe surprised the crowd when he walked out of the stadium to avoid watching the dreaded kicks.
The first set of penalty kicks could not separate the two teams as all five players from each side converted. But during the sudden death kicks, Mafco’s Precious Gawani hit the post before Patrick Thupi converted Tigers’ seventh penalty kick to take his team to the final.
Gondwe, who only returned after the game to congratulate his colleague Franco Ndawa conceded defeat and wished Tigers the best of luck during the final.
“It was written (By God) that Tigers will be in the final and we cannot ask questions or say we could have done this or that. We just wish them (Tigers) all the best in the final,” said Gondwe.
Ndawa congratulated his boys for playing their lungs out, saying he was now looking forward to the final against his former team, Silver Strikers.
“We respect Silver but we are not afraid of them. We are going to have our normal preparations ahead of the final,” he said.