Muhammad Sulumba was the biggest culprit as wasteful Nyasa Big Bullets missed the chance to go top of the Tnm Super League after being held to a 1-1 draw by capital city giants Silver Strikers.
It was a blockbuster Sunday which no one would have predicted as league leaders and Bullets’ rivals, Be Forward Wanderers, ironically recorded a similar scoreline against another Lilongwe heavyweight, Civil Sporting Club at the Balaka Stadium.
Mozambique bound Mathew Sibale continued his fine scoring form by netting for Silver but was pegged back by Nelson Kangunje.
A capacity crowd at the Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo, Chikwawa enjoyed an appetising dish of football with Bullets the better side on the day.
Fisher Kondowe continued to defy age by supplying beautiful crosses from the right flank, which Sulumba and Mussa Manyenje failed to connect home.
Manyenje however tested goalkeeper Steve Micheta with a spectacular drive on 18 minutes from a Kondowe cross, but there was nobody to walk the ball home following Micheta’s save, until Silver defender Yinussa Sheriff cleared the lines.
Mike Mkwate who alongside Kangunje and Kondwani Kumwenda dominated the midfield then fired over the bar from just outside the box.
Bullets did not do enough to capitalize on Micheta’s shoddy first half shoddy display in the Silver goals and paid for that as they fell behind on 35 minutes.
The league’s leading scorer Sibale headed home his 13th goal of the season from a Thuso Paipi cross, to put the visitors in lead, against the run of play.
The strike was Silver’s only chance of the match as Bullets keeper Ernest Kakhobwe had little to do.
With five minutes left to half time, BB coach Rodgers Yasin replaced Manyenje with Bright Munthali whose contribution was appreciated by the red army.
Barely two minutes into the second half, Munthali headed Kondowe’s inch perfect cross against the woodwork but Kangunje was right on point to smash the rebound into the net.
Sulumba nearly made it 2-1 but Micheta who had put his first half woes behind him made a telling save to deny him.
Mkwate blazed over few minutes later, as the BB side which had switched from a 4 -5-1 to a 3-5-2 formation, continued to dominate.
Defender Emmanuel Zoya hobbled off for Chimango Kayira to accommodate the system.
Sulumba then stunned many on 67 minutes when he headed over the bar with Micheta on the floor and the goal yawning at his mercy.
Silver made two changes, withdrawing Defender Mike Roberts and midfielder Duncan Nyoni for Herbert Wayekha and Blessings Tembo to stay in the contest, while BB’s final change was the introduction of winger Ernest Petulo for Mkwate.
Heavens opened up with heavy rains on 75 minutes disrupting the flow of the game in the last quarter which produced nothing to write about.
The two sides have met four times in competitive action this season, Silver winning two while the other two have been draws.
Bullets assistant coach Elia Kananji rued missed chances for the setback.
“We were by far the better side on the day but wastefulness cost us the game. We will however keep fighting until the final day and see where we end up,” said Kananji.
In his post-match interview, Silver team manager Francis Songo blamed his boys for giving away a cheap goal and the rains for disrupting their style of play.
“We took the lead then gave away an easy goal instead of adding another goal. And when we tried to come back into the game towards the end, rains spoiled everything,” lamented Songo.
A win for Bullets would have seen them rise top with 60 points but the draw leaves them in second place with 58, a point behind Wanderers who have played a match less.
Silver maintain third spot with 52 points.
The bankers and the people’s team have three games left to finish the season while the Nomads have four more to go.