Giants Mighty Be Forward Wanderers FC on Wednesday survived a scare as they had to wait for post match penalties to progress to the Round of 16 stage of the ongoing Carlsberg Cup against Mzuzu based lower league side Fish Eagles in an entertaining match played at the Balaka Stadium.
Wanderers, who are the defending champions for the cup, started the game on the high note and nearly took the lead in the sixth minute but Jabulani Linje well curved free kick missed the target by a whisker.
Two minutes later, Harry Nyirenda had his header tipped over the cross bar by Eagles goalkeeper Donex Mwakisinga who had an incredible performance leaving the fans with tags wagging and was probably man of the match.
As the visitors struggled to settle, they conceded a free kick following a foul committed by Steve Msiska in the 20th minute and it was accompanied by a yellow card.
Mike Kaziputa stepped in to deliver a beautiful cross from the left flank that landed direct on the head of defender Harry Nyirenda who made no mistake but to head the ball into the net from close range.
Four minutes later, the Northern Region Football League Premier Division side equalised through Brian Phiri after Wanderers goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa mis-judged a ball floated into the goal area and ended up colliding with two of his defenders Harry Nyirenda and Foster Namwera.
Thereafter, Fish Eagles developed some confidence as they started to knock the ball around at the middle of the park with some flashy passes from their attacking midfielder Kabira Washari.
Gwalagwala Msowoya almost gave his side a lead but his hard and low shot from outside the penalty box was properly taken care of Chipuwa who fumbled the ball before being cleared by a nomads defender.
Forgotten star Jafali Chande, who has been out of action for undisclosed reasons by the club, scored two minutes before recess but his goal was disallowed for an offside.
In the second half, both sides made some tactical changes in search of a winning goal.
Wanderers brought in Yamikani Chester who replaced Foster Namwera and Joseph Kamwendo who came in for Ted Sumani.
Despite bringing in some fresh legs, Wanderers continued to struggle more especially on the midfield as their holding midfielder Alfred Manyozo was carelessly giving away possession and was compeletely out of the game.
He went on to commit unnecessary fouls and at one point escaped a red card from referee Benedicto Chongwa after being brought to book earlier in the the first half.
Substitute Chester failed to broke the deadlock as he was tightly man-marked by Jimmy Msiska assisted by captain and sweeper Steve Msiska.
1-1 it ended at the end of regulation time and the game went straight into penalties.
During penalty shootout, Wanderers converted all their spot kicks through Joseph Kamwendo, Stanly Sanudi, Mike Kaziputa, Jabulani Linje and Alfred Manyozo Jnr.
But it was Chester who sealed Wanderers round of 16 place after scoring a decesive spot kick following a miss by Gift Nyando whose kick was denied entry by the upright.
Speaking to Nyasa Times after the final whistle, Wanderers coach Yasin Osman admitted the young lads gave them a tough time.
“We underrated our opponents but they gave us a good run for our money. It was a tough match but we are happy that we have managed to qualify to the next phase, thats most important,” said Osman.
His counterpart Christopher Nyambose conceded the defeat but applauded his boys for containing the nomads through out the regulation time.
“We have lost yes but it was a good game and I am satisfied with the result. We managed to contain them and I thank the boys for putting up a spirited performance,” said Nyambose.
“Everyone knows that Wanderers is a big club and they are leading in the elite league so playing 1-1 in regulation time wasn’t easy at all. We came in as underdogs but we did our part,” he added.
The game did not run short of drama as Fish Eagles players were refusing to take the sixth penalty after the first set.
This prompted Wanderers players led by Joseph Kamwendo to pile more pressure on the lads by shouting ‘Kamenyeni! Kamenyeni!’ .Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :