…Moyale Barracks, Red Lions also through to the last eight
Mike Mkwate produced another man of the match performance to save Nyasa Big Bullets’ blushes during their 5-3 victory over Kamuzu Barracks in a 2017 Carlsberg Cup round of 16 tie played at Chilomoni Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Regulation time ended 1-all and penalties were needed to separate the two teams, with the 2012 winners giving away their lead with three minutes to play on the clock.
With the Blantyre derby coming ahead, Bullets interim coach Elia Kananji made three changes to the side that defeated Dwangwa United in a league match last week, with Pilirani Zonda, Rabson Chiyenda and Emmanuel Zoya all making it into the starting eleven against the Lilongwe based Soldiers.
On the field of play, there was a good tempo in the encounter, although Bullets looked more threatening with Bright Munthali, Mkwate and Mussa Manyenje seeing a lot of the ball but shooting at goal proved too difficult for the Blantyre based giants.
The first chance of the game arrived after 28 minutes as Msowoya played in Munthali, but the former Azam Tigers forward blazed his effort over the cross bar from just close to KB’s penalty box.
The visitors had a chance to break the deadlock in the 39th minute when they launched a stunning counter hurricane attack only to lose possession to Bullets who recovered in time.
Come second half, Bullets had more than three chances within the space of ten minutes but every effort went wide as pressure was mounting on KB’s defence.
Msowoya almost broke the deadlock when he made a 360 degree turn only to see his shot well saved by Lemani Nthala in goals for the visitors.
Moments later, Yamikani Fodya blasted his effort wide from KB’s goalmouth, with Mkwate coming close to scoring but his effort was blocked by Pempho Kansichiri who was very solid at the back alongside Pilirani Makupe and Diouf Simaone.
Just when everybody thought the game was heading towards penalties, Chilomoni Stadium was silenced by the visitors.
A free kick from the visitors caught Bullets’ defence napping in the line of duty when Miracle Gabeya made a clearance only to see the ball landing in the path of Dave Banda who wasted no time by firing past Chienda before the ball kissed the back of the net, 1-0.
The goal completely took away Bullets’ rhythm as the visitors were now taking charge of the midfield to create some goal scoring opportunities but were very unfortunate not to increase the lead.
Bullets technical panel then made a triple substitution, bringing in Bashir Maunde, Collen Nkhulambe and Kondwani Kumwenda for Nelson Kangunje, Gabeya and Manyenje, while Nangaunozge Luhanga was brought in for the visitors.
Mkwate was the centre of focus as his intelligence with the ball left many puzzled but all his efforts were in vain as Bullets continued to struggle to find the much needed equalizer.
However, with three minutes to play, the home fans celebrated.
Mkwate saw Nthala out of his goal line and he smashed a powerful shot that hit the upright before bouncing on the line from which Nkhulambe made a simple finish after Kamuzu Barracks’ defence failed to clear the ball away from the danger zone, 1-1.
The goal rejuvenated Bullets who were now looking for the winning goal to avoid penalties and they almost sealed the game in added minutes when Msowoya’s goal from Fodya’s free kick was wrongly ruled for offside by second assistant referee Limbani Chisambi.
KB then brought in Sammy Chiponda for Kelvin Hanganda as the visitors were now preparing themselves for penalties.
The score remained 1-1 at the end of regulation time and the match went into a penalty shoot-out, where Bullets held their nerve to triumph 5-3 as Chiponda’s miss allowed Fodya to score the winning penalty and take his team into the last eight of the competition.
In other round of 16 matches, Khuda Muyaba’s brace and a goal each from Lesiman Singini and Wister Phiri inspired Moyale Barracks to a comfortable 4-nil victory over Dwangwa United at Chitowe Stadium.
The Mzuzu based Soldiers have joined Bullets and Red Lions in the last eight of the competition.
The Zomba based Soldiers, who lost 2-1 to Silver Strikers last Sunday in a league match, had the sweetest revenge as they defeated the Central Bankers 1-nil courtesy of a Kumbukani Mwambene’s first half strike at Balaka Stadium.
The round of 16 matches will continue on Sunday when Kasungu Police will take on MDF Marine at Nankhaka Stadium before TN Stars’ clash with Blue Eagles at the same venue in the afternoon.
Be Forward Wanderers are the current defending champions of the competition and will play their match against Mafco FC at Balaka Stadium next week.