Big Bullets scrape past Lions in Carlsberg Cup


…as minnows Hangover FC reach cup semifinals…

Nyasa Big Bullets were kept at bay for 90 minutes but when referee Godfrey Nkhangana added 11 minutes to the clock, the People’s Team seized the opportunity to equalize before sending the Soldiers parking in a dull encounter played at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Moses Nankumba had given the Soldiers an early lead in the first half but Yamikani Fodya leveled the scores just four minutes into the additional minutes to send the whole stadium into a frenzy.


Bullets: through

The hosts got their goal just before the half hour mark when Bullets defence was caught sleeping in the line of duty, allowing Nankumba to make a simple finish past defenseless Rabson Chiyenda.

From there, the Zomba based side deployed delaying tactics from which their goalkeeper Brighton Ngwenyama faked injuries by throwing himself down to frustrate the visitors.

Despite all this, Bullets had some few shots at goal, with Ngwenyama making two crucial saves to deny Nelson Kangunje and John Lanjesi from scoring.

With less than 10 minutes to play, Royal Bokosi missed a goal scoring opportunity when Chiyenda was caught napping in an aerial combat but the forward drafted his effort inches away from the goalmouth.

Come second half, Chiukepo Msowoya wrestled with Benesi Kayisi but failed to make an impact when he desperately tried to win a penalty.

Rodgers Yasin’s led technical panel decided to take out Mike Mkwate and ineffective Righteous Banda for Dalitso Sailesi and Mike Mkwate while the Soldiers brought in Boniface Kaulesi and Mathews Simbeye for the injured Henzie Kamunga and Steve Ziba.

It was the visitors who were now pressing harder in search for the equalizer but all their efforts proved futile as Red Lions defence stood firm at the back to silence the visitors’ vocal supporters.

Out of the 45 minutes, Ngwenyama wasted more than 10 minutes through his untimely delaying tactics but little did he know that he would pay back for his sins.

Bullets made their final substitution, bringing on board Mussa Manyenje for Msowoya.

Just moments after coming on, Manyenje proved his inefficiency when he missed two clear cut chances within seconds to disappoint every Bullets fan who was inside the stadium.

After 90 minutes on the clock, 11 more minutes were added by Nkhangana from which Red Lions paid dearly for wasting almost half of the minutes by using delaying tactics.

Phiri hurt the Lions with his touch of brilliance when he dribbled past three Lions’ defenders before forcing Chimwemwe Chidati to handle the ball inside the penalty box.

Nkhangana was left with no choice but to point straight on the spot, a decision which shocked the hosts who protested but the decision was already made and Fodya stepped in to slot past Ngwenyama, 1-1.

The match had to be decided on penalties, with Fodya, Lanjesi and Kangunje scoring for the visitors while Red Lions scored through Nankumba, Lottie Chawinga and Mphatso Ngwira.

Lions’ Ernest Nkasuka and Simbeye missed their spotkicks to send the defending champions into the semifinals of the cup.

In another quarterfinal clash, rookies Hangover FC became the first team from the Premier Division to reach the last four of the competition in four years after beating Blue Eagles 1-0 courtesy of a late minute strike from Rabson Richard.

The result will see the minnows playing Bullets in the semifinals of the cup.