Silver Strikers tossed one leg into Airtel Top 8 Trophy semifinals as they edged wasteful Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0 during the first leg of the knockout tournament played at Bingu National Stadium on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
Substitute Victor ‘Vibri’ Limbani drew the blood from his former team four minutes from full time, when he ghosted into the box to tap home a loose ball after Bullets’ custodian Ernest Kakhobwe had failed to stop a Blessings Tembo free-kick.
The late strike by Limbani was a body blow for the visiting giants from Blantyre, who could have had wrapped up the game by then had they taken their first half and second half chances.
The Bullets had numerous scoring chances in the first half but their strikers Diverson ‘Agogo’ Mlozi and Bright Phiri kept firing blanks.
Silver had only one clear cut chance in the first half, which was wasted by Ghanaian striker Michael Tetteh.
A triple substitution of Tetteh, Green Harawa and Levison Maganizo, who paved way for Tembo, Limbani and Timothy Chitedze was the turning point for the central bankers.
The three brought a new lease of life into the bankers’ fold and it was no wonder to see Tembo delivering a dangerous free kick, which eluded Kakhobwe to the near post before taking a deflection towards the path of Limbani, who had the simplest of talks to tap the ball home.
The last four minutes plus another four minutes of added time were too little for Bullets to salvage the much needed away goal as the Bankers stood firm at the back to take a huge advantage into the second leg.
Bullets coach Nsazurwimo Ramadan conceded defeat after the whistle, lamenting the missed opportunities by his side.
“Our play was just fine but we could not put the ball into the net. We played better than Silver but our friends utilised the only chance they had.
“We are not out yet, there is another 90 minutes in the second leg and we are capable of turning the tables,” said Ramadan.
His counterpart Lovemore Fazili admitted Bullets controlled the pace of the game but pointed out the 1-0 win had given his side a big advantage ahead of the second leg.
“Bullets had a lot of chances but the good thing for us is that they did not get an away goal. We will push for an away goal in the second leg to make it even more difficult for them” said Fazili.
In another quarterfinal clash at Chitowe Stadium in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota, Moyale Barracks silenced fellow soldiers Mafco with a 2-0 beating to remain strong favorites for a semifinal berth going into the second leg in Mzuzu.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :