Blue Eagles claimed the K15 million winners’ prize after beating Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0 at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday afternoon courtesy of a last gasp penalty from substitute Stuart Mbunge.
Violence erupted at the end of the match as Bullets fans threw missiles onto the pitch following Misheck Juwa’s decision to award the Area 30 based side a penalty inside the additional three minutes.
Bullets, who enjoyed the lion’s share of the approximately 30,000 fans in the stadium, never really got going with their customary brand of enterprising football against a streetwise Eagles side who managed the game extremely well and went on to win the encounter through Mbunge’s well-taken strike from the spot before arousing the anger of the visitors.
The game was open to Eagles who dominated the midfield through Gilbert Chirwa but they were very unfortunate not to find the back of the net.
Bullets’ goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda was called into action thrice as Micium Mhone, Stuart Mbunge and Maxwell Salambula caused havoc inside Bullets’s defence.
At the other end, Bullets had their first shot at goal through Bright Munthali whose drive missed the goal mouth with an inch.
The action continued at a low pace, with Eagles trying to get their slick passing game going, although Bullets defence made it very difficult for them to find their rhythm.
After missing some chances in the opening 30 minutes, it was now Bullets’ turn to enjoy fair share of possession but Chiukepo Msowoya and Munthali were very poor in terms of finishing as they squandered the only few chances Bullets created in the match.
Come second half, the Cops managed to fashion some chances in the opening stages as John Malidadi Jnr had his effort well blocked by Bashir Maunde in defence for the People’s Team.
Moments later, Fischer Kondowe missed Bullets’ closest chance in the half when he failed to tap in the ball from a Righteous Banda’s cross.
But Eagles continued to look dangerous when they moved the ball to Mhone and it was his storming run and cut-back that almost ended up with a goal but the visitors’ defence was quick to react before clearing the danger away.
Blue Eagles coach Deklerk Msakakuona withdrew Malidadi Jnr for Mbunge while Nelson Kangunje and Mussa Manyenje came in for Mike Mkwate and Kondowe respectively.
There was a shot from Msowoya in the 84th minute which hit the side-netting.
Bullets then brought in Ernest Kakhobwe for Chiyenda in readiness for the shootout but just when everybody thought the game was heading to the penalties, Juwa awarded Eagles the penalty following Fodya’s tackle on Chirwa.
This decision didn’t go well with Bullets supporters who reacted angrily by throwing stones onto the pitch, forcing Airtel Malawi Limited’s officials, including Chief Executive Officers Charles Kamoto and other officials from the Football Association of Malawi, Super League of Malawi, Bullets management and Government officials to vacate the area.
The situation got worse after the final whistle when some Bullets players and supporters were seen punching the referee, forcing Police to use force in trying to rescue the whole officiating personnel.
This resulted into the delay in awarding the winners as running battles between the Police and alleged Bullets fans continued for more than half an hour and when the situation was contained, Bullets players were nowhere to be seen to receive their medals.
Eagles, despite the situation, collected their trophy and a K15 million cheque for becoming the champions for the first time in six years.
They are the second team from Lilongwe to win the competition.