…as Silver Strikers humble Mafco FC…
Mike Mkwate produced a man of the match performance to score the only goal of the game as he inspired Nyasa Big Bullets to a hard fought 1-nil victory over bottom side Dwangwa United in a Super League match played at Chilomoni Stadium on Saturday.
Both sides were coming from defeats, with Bullets coming from a 2-1 defeat to Silver Strikers while Dwangwa United lost to Premier Bet Wizards last week by the same margin.
Bullets caretaker coach Elia Kananji made four changes to the side that lost last week, with Mkwate, Mussa Manyenje, Bright Munthali and John Lanjesi all making it into the starting eleven.
Bullets nearly grabbed an early goal nine minutes into the game when Manyenje set up Nelson Kangunje who drafted his effort over the crossbar with the goal wide open.
Moments later, Manyenje saw his shot from an impossible angle saved by Dwangwa’s shot-stopper Charles Thom for a corner which did not materialize as the visitors cleared the danger away.
The hosts were coming wave after wave as they searched for the opening goal but Thom was very outstanding, this time around, producing another save to deny Henry Kabichi from finding the back of the net.
Bullets’ hardworking spirit seemed to have paid off when Munthali scored after he was set through by Manyenje from the right flank of the field where he was operating but referee Zondani Silombo ruled the goal out for offside.
As Bullets were trying their level best to unlock the visitors’ defence, Dwangwa United settled down, with Jack Chiona, Josophat Kwalira and Hassan Upindi all Playing with intent to destabilize the people’s team with some fine passes in the middle park.
Chiona saw his thunderbolt from outside the penalty box well saved by Ernest Kakhobwe for a corner.
At the other end, Chiukepo Msowoya’s first shot went wide from a corner as the clock was ticking against the 13 time Super League champions.
Come second half, Bullets had the first shot at goal from a free kick which was well taken care of by Thom.
Thom’s opposite number was called into action moments later to make a save to deny Chiona from scoring from a free kick.
Bullets then survived a scare when Kakhobwe produced a stunning save to deny Chiona from giving his side a lead as Miracle Gabeya’s led defence was caught napping in the line of duty.
At the other end, Mkwate did a “Messi” to find Munthali inside the penalty box but the former Azam Tigers forward fired his shot wide.
Bullets then brought in Collen Nkhulambe and Ernest Petro for Msowoya and Kangunje.
28 minutes into the half, Bullets got their opener through Mkwate who smashed a low drive shot outside the penalty box to fire past Thom who should have done better as the ball slipped in his hands before kissing the back of the net, 1-0.
The goal brought Bullets back into the game as they pressed harder in search for more goals to completely dash Dwangwa United’s hopes of making a comeback.
Munthali was very unfortunate not to score when his shot was well saved by Thom on a one on one situation.
Mkwate almost doubled his tally when he exchanged passes with Munthali only to fire wide from a close range.
Dwangwa then brought in Patrick Macheso and Onecmo Mbendera for ineffective Clement Trota and Victor Harawa.
With less than few minutes to play, Pilirani Zonda’s shot was saved by Thom who, despite conceding a silly goal, was very outstanding.
The visitors tried their level best to try to snatch something out of the game but Bullets stood firm to collect maximum points and move up to third with 18 points from eleven games.
As for the rookies, the latest defeat leaves them in the bottom three with 8 points from eleven games played so far.
At Chitowe Stadium, Mathews Sibale scored in each half to inspire Silver Strikers to a comfortable 2-0 victory over struggling Mafco FC to move up to fifth in the standings with 17 points from nine games.
The Bankers dominated the proceedings from the word go as they took an early lead before completing the job in the second half to shutter Mafco’s plans of breaking into the top four.
The defeat leaves the Salima based Soldiers in seventh position with 15 points from eleven games.