…to play Civo Service United
An early second half strike from substitute Diverson Mlozi ensured Big Bullets a 1-0 victory over Moyale Barracks in the quarter-final of Malawi’s 2015 Standard Bank Knockout Cup.
The hosts got the match off to a positive start as they surged forward from the onset, but their striker Komani Msiska lacked finishing composure in front of goals.
The first real attempt on goal came in the 8th minute when Nchopwicho Njewa’s attempt was tipped over the upright by Bullets’s shot stopper Chimwemwe Kumkwawa for a corner.
Bullets responded immediately as Jafali Chande found space down the right flank and delivered a cross, which was slightly missed by new signing Aimable Nikiza.
The Soldiers had scored a goal through Lloyd Njaliwa in the 17th minute but referee Duncan Lengani ruled it for offside.
Moyale suffered had another chance just after the half hour mark through Msiska who failed to utilize a defensive relapse by the visitors only to fire straight into the hands of Kumkwawa.
At the other end, Bullets won a free kick some few metres away from Moyale’s penalty box. Yamikani Fodya stepped in Juma Chikwenga in goals for the hosts was equal to the task.
Bullets were struggling to settle down as Kuda Muyawa, Lovemore Mitengo, Njaliwa and Deus Mkutu gave them no space to penetrate. With few minutes to go before the interval, Msiska, who once played for Bullets, was stretched off after suffering a serious head injury and was replaced by former Civo Service United forward Dan Katunga. Henry Kabichi could have given his side a lead when he was one on one with the goalkeeper only to fire a weak shot straight into the hands of Chikwenga.
The first half ended goalless.
Come second half, Bullets replaced Nikiza for Mlozi. It only took 7 minutes for him to put the visitors ahead, capitalizing on a blunder from goal keeper Chikwenga, who failed to clear a lose ball inside the penalty box, 1-0.
Bullets were buoyed by the goal and continued pressing forward in numbers, with the likes of MacPhallen Ngwira, Dalitso Sailesi and Mlozi all joining the attack.
However, Moyale Barracks defence was able to contain the pressure exerted by Bullets attackers. Jellesi Lufeyo came in to replace Kabichi just before the half hour mark.
The hosts then came close to scoring as Katunga wasted another golden opportunity by firing wide when he had all the time in the World to put the ball into the back of the net no wonder he was taken out.
Bullets tried to slow things down ahead of the final whistle as they sat back and allowed the home side to retain possession towards the centre circle.
James Chilapondwa was taken out for Miracle Gabeya, allowing Chikondi Likwemba to play in his preferred midfield position.
Fodya cleared a Mkutu’s header before it crosses the goal line as Moyale kept on pressurizing in search for the equalizer.
Despite enjoying more possession, the hosts were unable to get the better of Kumkwawa, who displayed great maturity between the two sticks.
Bullets could have completely burried Moyale’s hopes of coming back into the game when Chande failed to head into an empty net with the goal keeper already beaten.
Four minutes were added but Bullets held on to book themselves a place in the semi-final where they will play Civo Service United who edged past Dedza Young Soccer 2-0 on Friday.
The result means that no team from the Military side will have a grip on a silverware this season.
On Saturday, Red Lions were shown the exit door by Mighty Wanderers, leaving the Mzuzu based Soldiers as the only hope to bring something before the end of 2015 soccer season.
The semi-final line up will be as follows:
Mighty Wanderers vs Blue Eagles
Big Bullets vs Civo Service United
Venues for the competition will be announced by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
The winner will walk away with a trophy plus cash worthy MK 10 millions.
The competition is being sponsored by the Standard Bank of Malawi to the tune of MK46 million.