TNM Super League defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Mlatho Mponela at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A brace from Hassan Kajoke and a Mike Mkwate strike made sure that the home side collected maximum points to keep their hopes of defending the title alive.
As a result, Bullets climbed up to fourth on the log table with 18 points from nine games while the rookies dropped to fifteenth with 8 points from eleven games.
It was a much changed Bullets side against a resilient Mlatho Mponela side which came out top especially in the second half where chances were created.
Twice, the people’s team were denied by the woodwork when both Kajoke and Banda’s shots raised their game at the expense of the visitors who were a bit jittery in the opening minutes.
Bullets enjoyed most of the possession in the early stages of the game and it wasn’t a surprise when they won a penalty in the 9th minute when Ferguson Mtondo brought down Patrick Phiri in the 18-yard box, leaving referee Alfred Kaphamtengo with no choice but to point straight on the spot, from which Kajoke stepped up to beat Chikwenga Kajanga in goals for the visitors, 1-0.
Moments later, the lead was doubled.
The visitors’ defender Mustapha Maulana was overpowered by Kajoke following a long ball from Gomezgani Chirwa to slot past Kajanga into the far post, 2-0.
The visitors were forced to make a change when Kajanga was injured and he was replaced by Dailey Yasin.
At the other end, the rookies created their first goal scoring opportunity when Hassan Upindi’s volley was well saved by Rabson Chiyenda in goals for the hosts.
Bullets were dealt with a massive blow when defender John Lanjesi, who was coming from an injury was stretchered off following a collision with Innocent Botomani and he was replaced by Bashir Maunde.
Bullets were able to add their third goal through Mike Mkwate who was set through Phiri to beat the advanced Yasin into the top corner, 3-0.
In the second half, Mlatho Mponela came out blazing, bringing on board Precious Chipungu and Patrick Phiri and these changes brought some rhythm as they controlled possession and created some clear cut goal scoring opportunities but they lacked the finishing composure in front of goals.
Upindi should have pulled one back when he was found unmarked just closer to the 18-yard box but he misjudged the ball, allowing Bullets to clear the danger away.
Banda then dribbled past three Mlatho players before sending a low cross drive into the box but Kajoke, who should have left the ball to Phiri, fired wide.
Bullets were coming wave after wave and they forced Yasin into producing a fantastic save when Chirwa found Chimwemwe Idana in the box only to see his shot well saved by the shot-stopper.
Mlatho’s Eric Kaonga then made a brilliant move to the left flank of the field but his cross was missed by Chipungu with the goalkeeper already beaten in the line of duty.
Phiri was substituted by Luke Chima as Bullets kept on pushing for more goals but Yasin was brilliant as he produced double saves to deny Kajoke and Idana in succession.
Banda was left in tatters when his goal bound effort was again well saved by Yasin.
In the dying minutes, Mlatho Mponela missed a sitter when Botomani found three attackers in the box, only to be denied by Charles Petrol who intervened with a brilliant sliding tackle.
The visitors pushed harder to reduce the deficit but Bullets stood firm to register their fourth win of the season.
At Chitowe Stadium, a brace from Gracium Chinkhande inspired Dwangwa United to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Karonga United.
However, the win wasn’t enough to take them out of the drop zone as they are still stuck on 14th position with 8 points from eleven games.
The action continues on Monday, with Be Forward Wanderers playing host to Masters Security at Kamuzu Stadium while Kamuzu Barracks will face Moyale Barracks at Civo Stadium.
At Kasungu Stadium, TN Stars will welcome Blue Eagles.