FOOTBALL: As the battle in Malawi's Standard Bank Knockout Cup rages on, the painful away goal rule is set to haunt teams during the second leg of the quarterfinal clashes.
Indeed, the away goal rule can be hurtful if you are the victim and at times it it is a huge advantage if you are the beneficiary.
Again teams should also expect shootouts if they happen to tie after the return matches.
Mighty Wanderers travel to Balaka Stadium in an away assignment to face hosts Escom United this afternoon.
Escom just need a goalless draw to progress to the next round having drawn in the first match one-all at Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo.
One of Escom's interim coaches Kondwani Gawani said they were set to prove their prowess that they can manage the side.
"We know that we are facing a difficult side. Our mission at hand is to qualify the semi-finals and we will pick it from there. We have the hope that we can do it," he said.
Since the panel was named to replace the suspended coaches Charles Manda, Aubrey Nankhuni and MacDonald Mtetemera, midfielder-cum-striker Kelving Haganda has been an inspiration for his role just behind the twin strikers.
Haganda is expected be at the hub of Escom moves while forward Manase Chiyesa can be a nuisance if overlooked.
But you can never rule out Wanderers until the last whistle. Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Joseph Kamwendo has been the team's saviour of late and he proved it when he scored from the spot to level the arrears during the first leg tie.
Strikers Diverson Chilemba and Anthony Banda are also potential match winners and the Lali Lubani Road outfit technical panel consisting of Felix Fosko and Albert Mpinganjira know how well to utilise the pair.
The Capital City is expected to offer soccer fans a mouth-watering menu when it hosts three decisive quarterfinals.
The soccer lovers are likely to be at crossroads on Saturday as to which game they should patronize between defending champions Blue Eagles who will square up with Silver Strikers at Nankhaka while Civo United date Moyale Barracks FC at Silver Stadium.
The latter's first leg game ended in one-all draw at Chitowe and it is of no doubt that the encounter would also provide an entertaining duel in the team's pursuit of a slot in the semi-final.
Epac, who went down 0-1 to Big Bullets at Balaka Stadium last weekend, would be hoping to avenge the defeat when they host the People's Team at Silver Stadium tomorrow.
In today's game, the police side is likely to march into the game with their entire armoury, having lost the first leg encounter 1-3 at Silver Stadium a week ago.
The loss means the cops need to score two goals and deny the Bankers a chance to score so that they revive their chances of defending the trophy.
However, with Silver's attacking prowess; composing Rodrick Gonani, Harvey Mkacha, Davie Moya and Frank Banda, this could appear a far-fetched dream.
But whether one would call it kicks of a dying horse, Eagles' coach Msakakuona still has the belief that they would be able to turn the tables.
"We are aware that people have already counted us out, but we are hopeful of pulling a surprise," he said.
With the return of youthful winger Mecum Mhone, versatile midfielder Patrick Masanjala and defender Ken Mponda who were suspended, Msakakuona expressed optimism of proving the doubting Thomases wrong.
He stressed that they have plotted a good strategy of condemning the bankers out of the race.
On the other hand, Silver's new coach Franco Ndawa would definitely be looking forward to impress his new employers with a second win to progress into the semifinals.
"We will try as much as possible to defend the goals we scored and or at least add one more," said the coach, who has revitalised the Bankers.