Chiukepo Msowoya’s 66th minute strike inspired Nyasa Big Bullets to a 1 – 0 victory over rivals Be Forward Wanderers to win Ecobank Charity Shield for the fourth consecutive year.
Bullets coach Calisto Pasuwa made several changes to the squad that defeated Blue Eagles on Saturday, with Patrick Phiri, Pilirani Zonda, Rabson Chiyenda and Chimwemwe Idana all included in the first eleven whilst Wanderers’ Bob Mpinganjira rested Francis Mulimbika, Isaac Kaliyati, Francisco Madinga and Felix Zulu.
There were little chances in the opening 25 minutes, but the game exploded in the second half when Msowoya launched a thunderbolt past Richard Chipuwa after receiving the ball from midfielder maestro Mike Mkwate.
It seemed like a half-baked Wanderers had turned up to enjoy the sunshine despite having tall strikers in the name of Peter Katsonga and Adepoju Babatunde.
Bullets controlled the midfield but were frustrated by Nomads defense which closed down Msowoya and Patrick Phiri.
The only realistic chance came just after the half hour mark when Stanley Sanudi’s free kick was cleared offline by defender John Lanjesi.
At the other end, Phiri was found through by Mkwate only to fire straight at Chipuwa.
Bullets kept on playing the more confident football, and cut Wanderers to shreds in a blistering move that ended with MacPhallen Ngwira floating a ball back across goal, only for the brave Dennis Chembezi to head away before the onrushing Phiri could nod into the empty net.
For the second half, Bullets continued to enjoy ball possession, with Mkwate, Phiri and Ngwira tormenting Wanderers’ defence like nobody’s business but Chipuwa was always on alert to save the Nomads from sinking.
However, the deadlock was finally broken in the 66th minute when Mkwate made a fantastic pass to Msowoya who wasted no time by releasing a thunderbolt to beat Chipuwa and into the net, 1-0.
Wanderers were second best on the ball and continued to lose possession no wonder Bullets kept them under pressure in the entire match.
Perhaps a lack of competitive sharpness in front of goal, Babatunde should have equalized when he was set through by Kaziputa but the former Masters Security man blitzed his effort over the bar.
Katsonga and Kamanga were substituted for Felix Zulu, Isaac Kaliyati and Misheck Botomani whilst Bullets brought in Nelson Kangunje, Hassan Kajoke and Fischer Kondowe for Mkwate, Msowoya and Ngwira.
Wanderers were certainly in the ascendancy as they increased their attacking pace through Kaliyati who was displaying his usual mastery for the creative arts but Bullets’ defense stood firm to frustrate the Lali Lubani road side.
Bullets should have made it 2-0 with five minutes left when they executed another slick counter, leaving Kajoke one-on-one with Lucky Malata and Peter Cholopi but the forward failed to demonstrate his dribbling abilities as he gave the ball away to Chembezi.
It was another cogent reminder of Bullets’ immense speed and efficiency pouring forward, a facet of their play which greatly troubled their rivals.
Bullets will be wondering how they only managed the one goal. So, Bullets got the victory but the real psychological edge will be gained from 14th April, though there is no doubting that Wanderers fans will be somewhat disappointed from what they saw at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday.
In the third place play off, Masters Security edged out Blue Eagles 5-3 on penalties.