Red Lions FC preyed on lowly-rated Green Hawks FC with 2-0 win to wing into the last 16 of the Presidential Initiative on Sports in a match played at Zomba Community Centre ground on Wednesday.
The soldiers, mindful of the fact that unknown sides prove a nuisance in cup games, wasted no time to claim the lead in the first quarter of the match through Sunganani Msiska. It was a well-timed run on the right by Kumbukani Mwambene who sent a brilliant cross into the goal area where the unmarked Msiska rifled the ball home for the opener.
From then on, Hawks who just earned promotion to the Premier Division of the Peter Mutharika Southern Region Football League (SRFL) got settled and played neat passing game but lacked fire power upfront.
Bright ‘Bweke’ Munthali, Martin ‘Dinho’ Hawu and Limbikani Chapweteka were a constant threat to the Zomba-based soldiers but their defence led by Chikondi Khwade Sanudi and Mphatso Ngwira stood firm.
Goalkeeper Brighton Ngwenyama was also rarely tested in the game.
The second half saw the soldiers stepping up the gear and their efforts paid dividends in the 65th minute when Msiska claimed a brace with a scrambled goal from a corner kick. This demoralized the fighting spirit of the Hawks’ side as they now resorted to displaying individual brilliance with the ball.
Red Lions coach Mike Kumanga expressed happiness with the win.
“Unknown opponents like these disturb the pattern of play of bigger teams. So, I told my players to score quick goals in each half to kill-off their determination. We have qualified to the next round and the going looks tougher that we will not sit on our laurels,” he said.
Green Hawks technical director Adam Gondwe attributed the loss to lack of experience from his charges.
In other results elsewhere, Moyale Barracks 7 Nkhatabay Police 0, Cobbe Barracks 3 Marine Navy 1, Silver Strikers 3 Santhe Admarc 1, Chinangwa Madrid 1 Ntelo 0, Kamuzu Barracks 3 Civo 0 and Mafco 2 Man Tour 0.