By Erik Chiputula:
Mighty Wanderers goalkeeper, William Thole scored two penalties that have propelled the Lali Lubani side to the semi finals of the 2021 Airtel Top 8 after a 5-4 post match penalty victory over Moyale Barracks on Saturday.
The Nomads trailed by a goal from the first leg but a first half strike from the penalty spot by Thole at Chitowe Stadium put the aggregate at 1-1.
There were no further goals after Thole’s converted spot kick which meant a penalty shootout was the only deciding tool to get one team between the two to the semifinals.
A number of injuries to some senior players forced Wanderers coach Bob Mpinganjira to hand reserve graduate Aubrey Maloya his first start for the senior team as he partnered Yamikani Chester and Misheck Botoman upfront in a new 3-4-3 formation.
While long time absentees William Thole, Francis Nkonda and Ted Suman also returned in the first eleven.
Mighty Wanderers dominated the games since the word go and they created the first big chance after 10 minutes when Nkonda’s through ball into the box was squandered by Yamikani Chester who sent his shot wide in a one on one situation with Moyale goalie MacDonald Halawa.
The Nomads kept on piling pressure in search of the opener but all scoring chances were wasted by Misheck Botoman, Aubrey Maloya and Francis Nkonda.
With only four minutes before half time the Bob Mpinganjira’s boys were up courtesy of William Thole’s penalty following a handball by defender Innocent Botoman in the box.
Moyale Barracks who failed to register a serious shot on target in the entire first half were a changed side in the second half after making a change as they brought in Deus Nkutu for Crifford Fukizi.
It was a bit balanced in the second half that produced few chances as both sides were more of defensive to avoid conceding goals.
Felix Zulu could have increased Wanderers lead few minutes after replacing Misheck Botoman but his weak shot from the box was easily saved by MacDonald Halawa.
Deus Nkutu had his first attempt after 87 minutes but he missed the target with a well taken overhead kick.
Nkutu came again in added time with a header that bounced of the upright before a clearance by Peter Cholopi.
In the penalty shootout, Moyale Barracks were the first to take and it was Lloyd Njaliwa who sent his shot over the bar before spotkicks from Raphael Phiri, Deus Nkutu, Ntopijo Njewa and Sandres Munthali were sloted into the net.
While the Nomads relied on Alfred Manyozo, Peter Cholopi, Stanley Sanudi, Francis Nkonda and the decisive penalty was converted by William Thole.
The Lali Luban Side is the first team to reach this year’s semi finals.
Another game will be played tomorrow at the same venue between Mafco FC who are trailing 3-1 to Nyasa Big Bullets.