Joseph Kamwendo drew the blood for the soldiers in the first half, when he scored on a spotkick after Zicco Mkanda was brought down inside the box by Lemani Nthara.
Kamwendo’s strike was a body blow for the home side, who could have had wrapped up the game by then had they taken their first half and second half chances.
The soldiers created a few scoring chances in the first half but their strikers led by Manase Chiyesa kept firing blanks.
The Nomads were on top of their game as they exchanged passes to the delight of their fans.
The last four minutes plus another four minutes of added time were too little for Kamuzu Barracks to salvage the much needed away goal as the Nomads led by man of the match Lucky Malata stood firm at the back to take a huge advantage into the second leg.
Kamuzu Barracks coach Temwa Msukwa conceded defeat after the whistle, lamenting the missed opportunities by his side.
“Our play was just fine but we could not put the ball into the net. We played better but our friends utilised the only chance they had.
“We are not out yet, there is another 90 minutes in the second leg and we are capable of turning the tables,” said Msukwa.
His counterpart Yasin Osman hailed his troops for a fine form and said the 1-0 win had given his side a big advantage ahead of the second leg.
“We will push for another goal in Balaka in the second leg to make it even more difficult for them” said Osman.
The two teams will meet on Sunday in the second leg in Balaka.