Silver Strikers’ dreams of finishing the 2015 TNM Super League in the paid ranks were shattered on Thursday, December 24, 2015 as the Bankers were held to a 1-all draw by visiting Azam Tigers in a closing fixture for both sides played at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe’s Area 47.
The Central Bankers needed a win to consolidate their fourth position but that proved a tall order on their own turf as Tigers posed fierce resistance from start to finish.
The Bankers were actually lucky to escape with the draw after Tigers had a penalty appeal dismissed and a goal disallowed by Fufa referee Patrick Ngoleka in the closing stages of the match.
The two sides played a goal-less first half before Tigers’ Mike Chitani broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute after beating Silver’s ill-conceived off-side trap.
Peter Katsonga had the ball in the net after connecting a rebound from Bright ‘Bweke’ Munthali’s earlier attempt that was punched by diving goalkeeper Blessings Kamiza but Fifa assistant referee Hendrix Maseko raised up his flag for off-side.
Upcoming Mathews Sibale levelled the scores for Silver seven minutes to time after capitalising on some loose marking by Tigers’ central defenders, who thought there was an off-side.
The result saw the Bankers over-taken by Blantyre based giants Mighty Be Forward Wanderers, who grabbed full points after beating Red Lions 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium. The win against Red Lions pushed the Nomads from 42 to 45 points, a point ahead of the Bankers, who only moved from 43 to 44 points.
The Bankers have finished the campaign on fifth position followed by Tigers on sixth with 42 points.
The battle for the second position was also concluded in Mzuzu, where Moyale Barracks frustrated visiting Blue Eagles with a nit-all draw to pave way for their brothers Mafco, who have occupied the second position with 50 points, two ahead of the cops.
A win would have propelled the cops from Area 30 to the second position on goal difference.
Coach for Silver Lovemore Fazili said in a post-match interview he was disappointed to finish out of the top four.
“I am disappointed that we are not in the top four but we still have to accept the reality. Today, we did not play the way we did in our last two games against Wanderers and Blue Eagles. Tigers were always first on the ball,” said Fazili, who missed the services of his four key players- Lucky Malata, Lameck Kachimanga, Peter Wadabwa and Wonder Jeremani.
Malata was reportedly sorting out family issues while Jeremani and Kachimanga were ruled out by injuries. Wadabwa was serving two yellow cards.
Tigers’ mentor Gerald Phiri expressed dissatisfaction with the draw, saying his boys squandered many opportunities.
“We could have won this game by a good margin but we wasted a lot of opportunities. Anyway, I am happy that we have finished the league on a high note after going through problems at the start of the second half.”
According to TNM league sponsorship breakdown, champions Bullets will pocket K15 million (about $23,780), runners-up will receive K7 million, third place is valued at K4 million (about $6,341) while fourth-placed outfit will rake in K3.5 million (about $5,548).
The Super League season is expected to close down on Sunday with champions Bullets facing Civo, who are on position nine.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :