Karonga United produced a spirited performance to inflict a first defeat of the season to early TNM Super League set-pacers Red Lions 1-0 in an encounter played at the Karonga Stadium on Saturday.
Chimwemwe Chidati proved to be the unfortunate match-winner as his first half own goal was enough for the hosts in a hot tempered match which saw Matthews Simbeye given his marching orders for two yellow cards for the visitors.
The game played in front of a sizable partisan home crowd saw Karonga do enough to urge out the league leaders in an encounter which had few goal-scoring opportunities of real note.
The hosts had the better of the first half despite creating little in a dominant half.
However, the only real moment of quality came in the 28th minute when a wicked Steve Saka cross was turned in into his own net by Chidati with Clement Nyondo waiting in the wings to finish off a move.
In the second half the match continued where it had ended with both teams cancelling each other out in a stop-start half which was dominated by skirmishes as a result of physical challenges from both sides.
In the 51st minute the visitors hope of coming back into the game received a blow after Matthews Simbeye was sent-off for two bookable offences.
Despite having the ten men the newly promoted side showed spirit and fight as they took the game to their hosts lead by the impressive Ronald Pengani and league top scorer Royal Bocosi.
However, Karonga weathered out the late storm and hanged on to the precious three points to ensure a second successive home victory.
Speaking in a post-match interview Red Lions coach Nelson Chirwa, bemoaned the officiation in the encounter attributing it to the defeat.
“Admittedly today we were not at our best but today’s defeat is down to the poor officiation which was shocking and very biased,” articulated an angry Chilwa.
However, Dan Dzinkambani, hailed his charges for the spirited win in a tough encounter.
“I thought we were excellent today we really dominated the game and the win was well deserved,” he said.
Despite the defeat Red Lions stay top of the TNM Super League with 11 points from 6 games while Karonga United clime up to 7th on the log table with 8 points from 5 games.