Second half goals from Chikondi Likwemba and Jafali Chande inspired Malawi league leaders Big Bullets to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Kamuzu Barracks in a league match played at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Before the match, the defending champions were 6 points away from the league title but Blue Eagles’ defeat to Epac in Lilongwe on Sunday means that a point against Azam Tigers on Wednesday will be enough to see Bullets retain the championship.
On the field of play, the visitors were the better side in the opening minutes of the first half and MacFallen Ngwira’s goal line clearance from a Harvey Nkacha header prevented them from going in front.
At the other end, Chande missed a sitter when Yamikani Fodya’s cross found him unmarked in the penalty box.
Bullets then suffered a massive blow when forward Chiukepo Msowoya was stretchered off due to an injury and was replaced by Dave Ng’ambi.
Diouf Simaone’s free kick could have given Kamuzu Barracks a lead but he was very unfortunate to miss the goal mouth with an inch.
Chande was causing more havoc to Barracks’ defence as he had a shot at goal well saved by Amadu Ali in goals for the visitors and a goal ruled out for offside.
Come second half, it only took 7 minutes for the hosts to find their opening goal.
Referee John Phiri awarded Bullets a free kick when Vincent Mphepo fouled Ngwira at the far side of the southern goalpost, allowing Fodya to curve in a dangerous ball inside the penalty box for Likwemba to head past Ali.
The goal forced Barracks to introduce Zinjani Yona and Kelvin Malikebu with the aim of increasing firepower as Manaseh Chiyesa was heavily marked by the Sankhani Mkandawire’s led defence.
With the hosts looking to maintain their narrow lead, James Chilapondwa was substituted for Bashir Maunde as a precaution measure.
However, Bullets could have doubled their lead when Mussa Manyenje was set free by Dalitso Sailesi but the latter shot wide from close range.
They still got their wish a few minutes later when Chande doubled their lead.
A well taken corner from Sailesi caught the soldiers’ defence napping, allowing the high flying Chande to head past Ali into the top corner.
The visitors tried their level best to come back into the game but Bullets’ defence was too difficult to unlock and after 90 minutes of play, it ended 2-0 in favour of the league leaders.
Speaking to the media after the final whistle, Bullets team manager Rahim Ishmael said the battle is almost over whilst his opposite number conceded defeat but was upbeat of finishing in the top six this season.
The result has taken Bullets’ tally to 54 points, 14 ahead of the second placed Mafco FC with five games to go.
Elsewhere, Peter Wadabwa cancelled out a Steve Ziba’s first half strike to give Silver Strikers a point against Red Lions.