Red Lions FC put up a gallant fight to send Mighty Wanderers packing out of the prestigious Carlsberg Cup in a nerve-wrecking encounter which was played at Zomba Community Centre ground on Sunday.
The match was played before a huge turnout and started on a scrappy note with both sides failing to live to the billing. Innocent Dzimbiri, Victor Mpinganjira and Mike Kaziputa for the Nomads made attempts into the soldiers’ territory but failed short of the killerpunch.
The Zomba-based Malawi Defence Force (MDF) side had its moments too. Kumbukani Mwambene and Boniface Kaulesi also failed to convert their half chances into goals on countable occasions. However, much as the Nomads did the playing, the soldiers registered the goals.
A long searching ball inside the goal area was misjudged by Bongani Kaipa and Peter Nselema for Wanderers. The ball then fell invitingly on the feet of Thomas Makombwa who wasted no time to slot it past the hapless Bester Phiri in goals for the opening goal.
The goal appeared to have jolted the Nomads into action as they pressed hard for the leveler. Dzimbiri had his header cleared off the line by the steady soldiers’ defence marshaled by Pearson Panje, Gibson Nkhonjera and Mphatso Ngwira.
In the 72nd minute, second half substitute Dickson Mbetewa Junior doubled the advantage from close range after he was poorly marked in the goal area.
Nonetheless, Kondwani Kumwenda reduced the arrears with two minutes in stoppage time but it was too little too late to save the day for his side.
Red Lions team manager Alexander Saka hailed his charges and said it is time to reap the fruits of hard work.
His counterpart Stewart Mbolembole cooly accepted the defeat.