Lilongwe: Airtel Top 8 Cup holders, Silver Strikers Sunday sailed through to the semi final of the cup when they were held to a 1-1 draw against their City rivals, Civil Sporting in the last quarter final match played at Bingu National Stadium in Area 48, Lilongwe.
The Bankers were alert to prevent a banker robbery by the Servants and have progressed to the next round on a 2-1 aggregate win following their away win them in the first leg of the quarter final encounter.
The a way win was orchestrated by Newman Mwamusamale’s first half strike after Civil’s first Choice keeper Tione Tembo gifted the goal.
With the win, the Area 47 outfit will face Area 30’s Nkhwazi, Blue Eagles in the first semi final on a date to be announced.
The first half never lived to the much talked about Capital City derby which was marred with a lot of rough play and questionable officiating.
Second assistant referee, Happiness Mbandambanda performed below par and this prompted Civil players and officials to manhandle her for her questionable decisions throughout the game.
Even referee, Boniface Chipinga was not fit to handle the game of such magnitude and this confirms why Malawi is not able to send referees to officiate regional and continental tournaments.
The first half saw Silver forced to make an early substitution in the 31st minute when they pulled injured Mwamusamale for forgotten man, Mark Fodya.
The first half saw the two teams on equal footing as the half never produced near chances worth counting.
The second half was a bit lively when Civil introduced Fletcher Bandawe and Innocent Tanganyika for Kelvin Thotho and Christopher Kumwembe.
Civil could have opened the score sheet in the 56th when former Silver captain, Blessings Tembo had sent an inviting cross into the box but Raphael Phiri failed to connect home with Silver’s second choice goalie, Blessings Kameza at his mercy.
Silver’s defender, Trevor Kalema was denied a golden opportunity when his header kissed the upright from Fodya’s corner kick in the 61st minute with Civil’s keeper, Hastings Banda caught off guard.
Silver pushed in Jack Chiona for Thuso Paipi and Civil rested Timothy Silwimba for Jibe Mbandambanda in the 75th minute.
With five minutes to time, Silver’s Mphatso Phillimoni broke the deadlock when he got a pass from substitute Green Harawa who had replaced Victor Limbani and he drove a grounder which went pass Civil’s keeper, Banda.
Three minutes into added time, Civil’s Bandawe levelled the scores to 1-1 when he headed in Tembo’s cross.
Bandawe could have turned into a hero when wasted a clear chance when he lazily headed the ball into the palms of Silver’s goalie, Kameza in the dying minutes of the game.
Civil’s workhorse midfielder, Patrick Thupi was named man of the match and pocketed K50, 000.
“We are grateful that we have progressed to the next round of the cup and this is important to the team,” Silver Strikers Team Manager, Francis Songo stated.
He told reporters that they should expect the best out of his players in the next games.
Civil Sporting Team, Gabriel Chirwa said it is sad to exit in the early stages of such prestigious cup.
“We did not manage to score an early goal in the first half otherwise the game could have gone to the wire. We need to commend the players for playing well in the second leg of the quarter final,” he noted.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA