…as Eagles detain KB…
It took Nyasa Big Bullets less than ten minutes after the restart to put their noses in front courtesy of a stunning free kick from Patrick Phiri.
Unlike on Saturday against Silver Strikers where Bullets created lots of goal scoring chances, their encounter against MAFCO wasn’t that much entertaining with both teams opting to play aerial balls.
The hosts were coming from a 2-1 win over Moyale Barracks on Saturday but failed to make an impact against a resilient side which was eyeing the top spot with only a single game to play in the first round.
It was Bullets who knocked at MAFCO’s goal inside the opening 8 minutes but Chiukepo Msowoya saw his shot being saved by the hosts’ goalkeeper for a corner.
Martin Masoatheka then combined well with Zingani Sichinga but the former Civil Sporting Club forward directed his effort straight at Rabson Chiyenda in goals for the People’s Team.
The play was dull from both teams, with the visitor’s midfield failing to feed the attacking trio of Phiri, Msowoya and Bright Munthali.
Bullets sparkled some venom towards the end of the half through Phiri who shot wide from a Fischer Kondowe cross.
In the second half, MAFCO started like a house on fire but were slowed down by Bullets who were calm and composed especially at their back led by Sankhani Mkandawire, John Lanjesi and Yamikani Fodya.
The moment of madness came on 54 minutes when referee Alfred Aziz Nyirenda awarded Bullets a free kick closer to the 18 yard box, to the disbelief of MAFCO’s caretaker coach Tione Mhone.
Phiri stepped in and released a venomous shot above MAFCO’s wall into the top corner to send the whole Bullets family into a frenzy, 1-0.
The goal gave Bullets some energy and they almost added their second through Munthali who was let down by his first touch after being set through by Henry Kabichi.
Bullets were all over MAFCO but lacked the finishing composure in front of goals.
The hosts’ Zikhole Nguluwe had all the time in the world to level the scoreline but his attempt wasn’t good enough to beat Chiyenda.
Bullets then introduced Chimango Kayira and Pilirani Zonda to defend their slender lead and it paid off as they stood firm to collect maximum points and move top of the standings above Silver Strikers with a point.
The two teams will wrap up the first round next week, with Bullets hosting Blue Eagles at Mulanje Park while the Central Bankers will travel to Mangochi Stadium to play Red Lions.
As for MAFCO, the defeat means they are still stuck in the relegation zone with 11 points from 14 games.
And at Nankhaka Stadium, Gilbert Chirwa scored the only goal to inspire Blue Eagles FC to a hard fought 1-0 victory over Kamuzu Barracks to move into the 5th position with 20 points from 13 games before traveling to Mulanje for their final game of the first round.
As for KB, the defeat sees them finishing the first round on position 7 with 18 points but they can still drop further into the 8th position if Red Lions win their final match.