Henry Misinjo scored the winner as Blue Eagles edged Kamuzu Barracks 4-2 on penalties to claim the 2019 FISD Challenge Cup in dramatic fashion at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday.
Micium Mhone gave the Area 30-based side a lead in the first half but substitute Kelvin Hang’anda leveled off in the second half to send the game into penalties where Eagles triumphed to take home K20 million.
It was an entertaining match as both teams pressed higher in search for goals but it was Blue Eagles who made sure that the first half belonged to them.
A free kick by Mhone was deflected into the net by the Soldiers defence, 1-0.
Despite trailing, KB were always going to be dangerous on the counter and Eagles had to be at their level best in defence as Manase Chiyesa’s well-timed ball sent Francisco Kamdzeka through on goal but he was very sluggish as he allowed the visitors to regroup.
Moments later, it was Mhone and Vitumbiko Kumwenda who combined well to release Foster Bittoni upfront but the forward saw his effort outside the penalty area going wide off Bonage Lweya’s goal posts.
KB continued their dominance and looked more dangerous but to unlock Onesmo Mbendera and Wonder Jeremani’s led defence proved too difficult.
With less than five minutes to play in the half, Kamdzeka dribbled into the area before firing his right-footed drive across John Soko’s goal in unbelievable circumstances.
Kamuzu Barracks coach Billy Phambala was quick to play his cards and following the break, he introduced the experienced Marshal Maluwa for Zinjani Yona as the Soldiers desperately looked for an equalizer but Mbendera was just too good at the back for the Cops.
Maluwa made an immediate impact with his cross-cum-shot missing the goal line with an inch.
The Cops, who were restricted to play an attacking football, created back to back clear cut chances but KB’s defence produced timely interventions to keep the Capital City Soldiers into the game.
With the clock fast ticking against the Soldiers, Kelvin Hang’anda was brought on for Kamdzeka and this is what Billy Phambala’s side needed as the tall striker put the match on level.
His first touch from a powerful drive forced John Soko into making a brilliant save for a corner from which he leaped high into the air, towering above Eagles defenders, before cushioning the ball into the far corner, 1-1.
The visitors then introduced John Malidadi Jnr for Bittoni but KB continued to dominate in search for the winning goal.
And Hang’anda should have won it in the additional minutes when he received a brilliant pass from Harvey Nkacha only to force Soko into producing a stunning save to the relief of Deklerk Msakakuona’s led technical panel.
The match had to be decided via the dreaded penalty shoot-out from which Hang’anda went from being a hero to a villain after missing his spot kick before another miss by Chimwemwe Chisambi to allow Misinjo to score the decisive penalty which guided the Area 30-based side to their first FISD Challenge Cup title.
The victory sees Eagles walking away with a trophy plus K20 million in prize money.
As for Kamuzu Barracks, the defeat means they have failed to equal Be Forward Wanderers’ record of winning the cup twice and they have received K7 million for finishing as runners up.
Kamdzeka and Schumaker Kuwali will share the top scorer’s award after scoring five goals each.