Silver Strikers on Sunday laboured themselves into the final of the 2019 Airtel TOP 8 Cup final after they narrowly edged Master Security 1-0 in a hard fought semi-final encounter played before impressive crowd at Civo Stadium in Area 9, Lilongwe.
The Central Bankers lone goal was scored in the 27th minute through hard working striker, Michael Tetteh who tapped the ball into the net to set up a final battle against Karonga United, who sent packing Mzuni on post match penalties 5-4 at Mzuzu stadium on Saturday.
They have booked the second cup final since the cup was introduced in 2017 in which they won and last year they lost in semifinal against Blue eagles 1-0 at the same venue.
Silver dominated the first half with attacking game while Masters came into the game in the last 45 minutes which forced the Bankers to constantly camp in their own half most of the times.
Despite a lively second half, the game was characterized with hard tackling for both sides and there were a lot of stoppages due to injuries and time wasting.
Most fans enjoyed the Ghanaian duo battles that involved Masters Captain Eric Astiga and Silver’s Tetteh and at the end of 90 minutes, Astiga got the man of the match award and pocketed K50, 000 cash.
The overall performance of referee, Ishmael Chizimba left many puzzles as he twice denied masters two penalty calls when Mussa Manyenje was brought down in the box and Silver defender, Trevor Kalema, who was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area.
Eight minutes into the game, Silver’s midfielder, Victor Limbani had set Thuso Paipi on the edge of the penalty area but his weak shot went straight into the palms of the Masters goalkeeper, Bester Phiri.
A minute later, Masters replied through Manyenje when he got a pass from Cuthbert Sinetre but his shot went wide to signal their first attack of the game.
Silver fans went into wild celebrations in the 27th minute when striker Tetteh planted home a pass from Limbani when he controlled the ball in the six yard box with no master security defender to challenge him and he just slot the ball home to make it 1-0.
Master Security had tough time in their attacking game as Bernard Chimaimba, Amadu Makawa, Juma Yatina and Manyenje could not find a solution to unlock Silver defence marshalled by Yinusa Sheriff ably assisted by Mike Robert, Kalema and Herbert Wayekha.
With six minute to half time, Tetteh has a chance but his effort went wide after being put through by Paipi.
Silver went to recess with a slander lead although fans were kept guessing as to how the game will going to progress as hard tackling was the order of the day and surprisingly despite having so many stoppages but referee Chizinga only added a minute as part of the injury time.
The second half saw rejuvenated Masters as they camped in Sliver’s half and in the 62nd minute when Yatina attempted effort never threatened Silver’s goalkeeper, Brighton Munthali as it went begging wide.
Silver made a change when they rested midfielder, Duncan Nyoni for defender, Hygiene Mwandapeka while master brought in Zelliat Nkhoma for Yatina in the 66th minute.
Master goalie, Phiri made a brilliant save in the 67th minute when Silver’s returnee striker, Khuda Muyaba shot was tamed excellently after he was put through Tetteh close the goal area.
Carlsberg cup final super substitute, Sammy Phiri was introduced into the game for Makawa in 69th minute but six minute later he was guilty of missing a seater in a goal mouth scramble as silver defender failed to clear the lines in one of the dangerous waves of the game
Silver’s players applied delaying tactics as pressure was amounting in their half.
Only two players were shown yellow cards, to Silver’s Tetteh and Masters, Chimaimba.
Masters Head Coach, Abbas Makawa said he was happy with the way his charges played and he believed that soccer fans have seen something worth discussing about my team.
“We have lost the game but officiation has let us down for sure. Several incidents were let scot free and this has put our game plan into an awkward situation,” he lamented.
Silver’s Assistant Coach, Lovemore Fazili acknowledged that it was tough game but they are happy they have won the game to reach the final.
“We expected to have such a tough encounter and it has always been like that for years now. What is most important to us is that we have won the game,” he added.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :