Silver Strikers yesterday returned to the summit of the TNM Super League log-table, thanks to rising star Maxwell Phodo’s first-half hat-trick and Stain Davie’s strike that handed visitors TN Stars a thumping 4-0 defeat.
The Bankers have displaced Civil Service United (Civo), who were overnight leaders on the 16-team table, as they now have 22 points, two ahead of the Civil Servants. Both have so far played 10 games.
This was Silver’s fifth straight win in the elite league this season and their first game after football restart.
In another thrilling encounter yesterday, defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets beat Mighty Tigers 2-0 at Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe, Blantyre to move two places up the ladder and take their unbeaten run in the top-flight to seven games.
They are now fifth on the table with 18 points from nine games, a point behind third-placed Ekwendeni and fourth-positioned Red Lions, who are tied on 19 points after playing 10 and 11 matches, respectively.
At Silver Stadium in Lilongwe, it was already clear who was going to carry the day before the recess after Phodo completed his second hat-trick in Silver’s blue-and-white colours this season.
He is now the leading scorer in the league with eight goals, two ahead of closest contenders Davie, who hammered the last nail on Stars deep in the second half, and Lions’striker Royal Bokosi.
Silver assistant coach McDonald Mtetemela said it was quite a relief to earn an emphatic victory in their first league match after the prolonged football break due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“We struggled, especially in the first-half and that was because we were just coming from the break. However, it is quite satisfying that we have managed to win by a big margin,” he said.
Despite that, he said they still have some grey areas that need polishing for the outfit to be a serious title contender.
At Mpira Stadium, Bullets scored in either half through Yamikani Fodya’s 40th-minute free-kick and ZiccoMkanda’s strike in the 75th-minute.
Bullets coach KalistoPasuwa said they were happy to have earned three points against a tough opposition.
“We started slowly and the game was a 50-50 affair; it could go either side. We struggled to pass the ball around but our first goal through Fodya just before the break made things easier for us as we began to find spaces and attack more in the second half,” said the coach, whose side also thrashed Mzuzu Warriors 3-0 the previous day.
His Tigers counterpart Trevor Kajawa attributed their defeat to loss of concentration, especially on set pieces that earned Bullets the two goals.
Tigers remain 14th on the log-table with eight points from 10 fixtures while Stars have dropped a step to seventh with 16 points from 12 matches.