Blue Eagles snatched a late winner against Silver Strikers at Nankhaka Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday to go five points clear at the summit of the TNM Super League table.
There was only a minute of added time left and just when it appeared the two teams would share the spoils, Laurent Banda broke the Central Bankers’ hearts with a late strike from an Ian Chinyama throw-in.
Following the victory, the Malawi Police Service-sponsored team has 19 points from seven matches, five above second-placed Nyasa Big Bullets, who have a game in hand.
Eagles have won six games and drawn once, an impressive record for a team that survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last season.
After the match, the cops turned the pitch into a theatre of celebration as they paraded around the stadium as Silver players looked bemused and out of place.
In a match that failed to stir the passions, Silver dominated the first half in which they created a number of chances, but failed to make them count.
In the 20th minute, Stain Dave shot over the bar after a good pass from Maxwell Gasten Phodo and three minutes later, it was the latter’s turn to miss from close range.
Earlier on, Silver were forced to make two substitutions, taking out injured Blessings Tembo and Chawanangwa Kaonga for Duncan Nyoni and Phodo, respectively.
In a post-match interview, Eagles coach Elia Kananji hailed his charges for fighting until the last whistle.
He said: “It was a tough game, but credit should go to the boys for playing to instructions. They fought until, literally, the last whistle.
“The fighting spirit they displayed today was amazing.”
On his part, Silver assistant coach McDonald Yobe said they paid the price for failing to ultilise the chances they created in the first half.
He said: “We had a grand game in the first half in which we created a good number of chances, but we failed to make good use of them.
“It now doesn’t look good for us and we need to pull up our socks.”
Silver are now 10th in the 16-team league with eight points from six matches.
At Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, a first-half brace from Kelvin Hanganda inspired Kamuzu Barracks (KB) to a 2-1 win over struggling giants Mighty Wanderers.
Following the win, the Lilongwe-based Malawi Defence Force side is now third with 13 points from six matches, six points behind leaders Blue Eagles.
It was the second loss of the season for the Lali Lubani Road outfit who looked out of sorts against the soldiers who attacked with flair and fervour.
Hanganda drew first blood in the 13th minute. He got a beautiful pass from Mike Ntonyo and then beat Nomads defender Miracle Gabeya before unleashing a powerful low shot past goalkeeper William Thole.
KB nearly doubled the lead in the 30th minute when unmarked Christopher Mtambo shot over the bar from close range and there was relief in the Nomads camp, but not for long as Hanganda wasn’t done yet.
But Hanganda claimed a double in the 44th minute when he pounced on a defensive error by Bongani Kaipa to slot the ball home.
The Nomads have dropped to fifth with 10 points from six matches.
KB coach Charles Kamanga said although it was a difficult match, he was happy that his charges fought all the way.
Wanderers assistant coach Joseph Kamwendo conceded defeat and blamed it on missed chances.
“We are struggling to score goals, but with time, we will get it right,” he said.
The Nomads came into the second half a reorganised side and forced their opponents into rearguard action.
They hit one back through defender Adeleke Kolawole seven minutes to full-time.
Substitute Chiukepo Msowoya scored what would have been the Nomads’ equaliser from a set-piece, but it was disallowed for offside.
In other matches, rookies Rumphi United registered their second victory when they beat Civil Service United 1-0 via Trouble Kajani’s 90th minute strike while TN Stars of Kasungu and Zomba-based Red Lions played out a one-all draw. Chikoti Chirwa scored for Reds while Symon Chimenya equalised for TN Stars.