The first leg of the 2023 Airtel Top 8 quarter-final involving Silver Strikers and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on Saturday ended in controversy at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe after the Nomads players refused to continue playing following Stain Dave’s winning goal.
The hosts drew first blood through new-signing George Chaomba in the 40th minute, but the Nomads levelled in 55th through forward Gaddie Chirwa.
However, Silver grabbed the controversial winner in added on time when midfielder Maxwell Paipi’s pass rebounded after hitting Isaac Kaliyati and Fifa referee Godfrey Nkhakananga appeared to have blown for an infringement just before Dave scored from the melee in the box past Richard Chipuwa.
Wanderers players and officials, including coach Mark Harrison mobbed the referee in protest, but Nkhakananga stood his ground and awarded the goal.
Play stopped as Wanderers players refused to continue.
After waiting for close to 20 minutes, the referee blew the whistle to mark the end of the match in favour of the Bankers.
But in post-match interview Harrison called for a replay of the match, saying they were robbed.
He said: “We didn’t lose but were cheated by the referee at the end. In my 47 years I have been in the profession I have never said that in press conference.
“He blew the whistle for an infringement or whatever and my players stopped then he allowed them [Silver] to strike.
“If there is no inquiry from Football Association of Malawi and National Referees body then there is a problem. This game should be replayed.”
Silver assistant coach Peter Mgangira, on the other hand, refused to comment on the controversial goal, but said the Bankers deserved victory.
He said: “We controlled the first-half completely, both in possession and chances created. We relaxed abit at the start of the second-half.
“After Wanderers had made three changes, they changed the system and we failed to detect that earlier. But after 15 minutes we came with new formations and started dominating play. We got the second goal and won the game.” Silver took control of the game from early exchanges, dominating possession and suffocating the visitors with good attacking football.