The last time Nyasa Big Bullets scored a goal was in the Charity Shield Cup against Kamuzu Barracks but since then, the Blantyre based giants have now played 360 minutes without even scoring an offside goal to crush out of the inaugural Airtel Top 8 Cup following a goalless draw at Mulanje Park Stadium against Silver Strikers in the quarterfinal second leg on Sunday afternoon.
The first leg at Bingu National Stadium ended 1-0 in favor of the Central Bankers who just travelled to Mulanje to frustrate Bullets who never looked like scoring as they failed to outsmart the visitors in the entire 90 minutes of the match.
The hosts started brightly in the opening two minutes of the match as Henry Kabichi’s shot was deflected for a corner.
With Fischer Kondowe suspended, Dalitso Sailesi and Bashir Maunde injured, Bullets struggled to settle down especially from the midfield where Chimango Kayira and Kabichi were operating.
From there, it was a tennis like football as both teams opted to use long balls, with Silver Strikers wasting plenty of minutes through assimilations to the disappointment of the home fans.
As a result of inactivity from the right flank of the field, Bernard Chimaimba was substituted for MacPhallen Mgwira to try to supply balls from the wing but his impact was hardly seen.
Pressure was mounting on Bullets who were looking to find the back of the net in order to put the match on level but the Bankers’ shot-stopper Brighton Munthali was hardly tested as the home team failed to supply balls to Bright Munthali and Collen Nkhulambe who were playing upfront.
The area 47 giants never looked shaken as they kept on killing time through delaying tactics to kill off the tempo of the game and after 45 minutes of the match, goalless it remained.
Come second half, Green Harawa and Timothy Chitedze were introduced for the Central Bankers while Bullets brought in Muhamad Sulumba for Munthali.
Just few minutes after coming in, Harawa meant business as he tormented Bullets’ defence without mercy but Ernest Kakhobwe was quick in the line of duty to make two crucial clearances in his own box.
Moments later, Harawa’s goal was ruled for offside by second assistant referee Mabvuto Godoya.
The visitors were pressing harder, forcing Ramadhan to bring on Kondwani Kumwenda for Yamikani Fodya.
Despite this change, it was the Central Bankers who were pressurizing Bullets but putting the ball into the back of the net proved too difficult as Maneno Nyoni and John Lanjesi stood firm at the back for the hosts.
Bullets’s closest chance fell through to Nkhulambe who was found unmarked by Mgwira only to shoot straight at Munthali before Mussa Manyenje’s miss from the rebound to leave every Bullets fan in total disarray.
Bullets’ efforts were frustrated when center referee Misheck Juba turned down their penalty shout when Yinusa Sherif was judged to have handled the ball inside the penalty box and after 90 minutes of play, 0-0 it ended.
Blessings Tembo was named man of the match and he was rewarded with a K50 000 cheque.
The draw sees Silver Strikers progressing to the semifinals of the cup where they will play Kamuzu Barracks next week.
As for Bullets, their worst start to the season ever continues with another disappointing display of football in the ongoing 2017 soccer season.
Meanwhile, the semifinal draw was conducted in Mulanje at half time where Be Forward Wanderers will play host to Moyale Barracks in the first leg while the Bankers will be hosted by KB in other semifinal first leg.
The cup is being sponsored by Airtel Malawi Limited to the tune of K66 million for three years where the winner will walk away with K15 million.