Silver Strikers are through to the finals of the K20 million (about $68 000) Standard Bank Knockout Trophy after beating rivals Civo United 4-1 at Silver Stadium on Sunday.
Four goals, two scored in each half, were enough to book the Bankers an-all blue final against Mighty Wanderers, who beat Big Bullets 4-3 (in post-match penalties) at the same venue on Saturday.
Rodrick Gonaniâ€™s brace, a wonder strike from Ndaziona Chatsalira in the 44th minute and Frank Bandaâ€™s 67th minute goal were enough to give the hosts a comfortable win.
Just like Saturday, the stadium did not fill up. As expected, there were many yawning gaps in the terraces as people failed to cough out K500 (about $1.50) for the open stands. But unlike the previous dayâ€™s semi-final, which did not live up to expectation, the Lilongwe derby was full of good football.
Malawiâ€™s Sports Minister Enoch Chihana and coach Kinnah Phiri were all there to admire Standard Bank taking football to another level.
Silver played with purpose, no wonder they carried the day.
Gonani opened the scoresheet nine minutes before half-time when his well-curved shot was deflected into the net.
Chatsalira added the second soon after and by recess, it was 2-0. Civo were a bit passive in their approach and workhorse Patrick Gunde, Martin Masoatheka and Nelson Kambunje failed to show their presence in the midfield. They were overshadowed by Harvey Mkacha, Frank Banda and Peter Pindani.
Gunde was eventually substituted for Nyadani Billie, but it was too late. Excitement of Billieâ€™s introduction was spoiled by Bandaâ€™s goal, which made it 3-0.
Masanjala tried to revive the game by introducing Alick Lihuhu and Dave Ngâ€™ambi for Kambunje and Lusekelo Mwathengere respectively. The move managed to briefly put pressure on Silver but only for a moment, as Gonani managed to break loose on the right and put another goal past Blessings Banda who was the busiest goalkeeper of the day.
A late penalty scored by John Lanjesi after a foul in the box was Civoâ€™s consolation goal.
â€œWe failed to play our game. We could not score from the few chances we had. They were well prepared for us,â€ said Masanjala.
â€œThe boys were great. They played with spirit. We were more organised than them. It was a great victory and well deserved too,â€ said Silver coach Franco Ndawa.