Blantyre derby ends in goalless stalemate

Nyasa Big Bullets edged the game especially in the first half, but neither they nor Be Forward Wanderers could break the deadlock in another edgy, gritty Blantyre derby in Saturday’s 0-0 TNM Super League at Kamuzu Stadium.

The match had to be stopped for some minutes when some irate Wanderers fans started throwing missiles into the pitch in protest of how referee Mayamiko Kanjere was handling the clash.

In front of thousands of supporters, Bullets had their three clear-cut chances saved by William Thole who replaced Nenani Juwaya in goals for the Nomads.

Out on the field, the two teams laboured to break each other down in oppressive heat at a fully packed stadium.

If derbies have had a reputation for safety-first football, the weather also played a role as both sides attempted to play a high-tempo game in conditions that could only urge a human body toward sluggishness.

But a lot of the time the football too was just plain messy. Not Lionel Messi messy.

Bullets were the better side in the first half as the combination of Peter Banda, Chimwemwe Idana, Chimango Kayira and Mike Mkwate gave Wanderers defenders a solid tough time as Francis Mkonda and Alfred Manyozo Jnr were completely outnumbered by the rookies.

Idana had his long range well saved by Thole for a corner and moments later, the Nomads goalie produced another save to deny Mkwate from scoring outside the penalty box.

The visitors were under pressure no wonder Bullets had more than five corners in the half and were in control of ball possession.

Nomads’ striking duo of Vincent Nyangulu and Babatunde Adepoju was nowhere to be seen as they were completely tightly marked by Charles Petro and Nixon Nyasulu in defence for the People’s Team.

The only realistic chance for the 2017 league winners came after the half hour mark when Isaac Kaliyati’s cross in the box found Babatunde who could only head the ball direct at Rabson Chiyenda in goals for Bullets.

As the half was nearing its end, Bullets almost punished Wanderers when Petrol’s freekick released Hassan Kajoke who found himself one on one with Thole only to see his shot saved by the shot-stopper.

In the second half, Wanderers found some sort of rhythm and created close chances to ensure an exciting beginning to the half.

An angled pass from Stainley Sanudi near the penalty box put Nyangulu through the middle, whose first touch was well blocked by Gomezgani Chirwa and with the second, the forward could not drive his effort at goal.

From there onwards, the game slowed as even both side’s players concentration appeared to suffer with fatigue, with simple tasks such as completion of passes seemingly becoming onerous.

Bullets’ Chirwa released Idana down the right and strangely the deadly midfielder, with a chance to shoot, opted to find Kajoke free on the center, who missed an open target.

Banda then paved the way for Patrick Phiri while Felix Zulu came in for Kaliyati.

Wanderers should have found the much needed goal when Nyangulu again was a villain after he blasted his effort over the bar from the close range.

Mkwate was taken off for Nelson Kangunje while Zicco Mkanda came in for wasteful Nyangulu as the Nomads tried to push for a goal.

The visitors almost capitalized when Babatunde’s header was easily saved by Chiyenda in an unbelievable circumstances.

Kayira had his well calculated shot missing the upright with an inch.

Moments later, Idana’s effort went wide, leaving all Bullets fans in total disbelief.

The two teams tried their level best to force a goal but it was never meant to be as the match ended goalless.

Thole was named man of the match following his impressive performance in the entire match.

The result sees Wanderers moving top of the standings with 27 points from 12 games while Bullets have moved to fourth position with 23 points from 13 games.

At Civo Stadium, Mlatho Mponela recorded a 2-0 victory over financially troubled Masters Security through Fabio Kapinde and Hassan Upindi’s goals.

The result sees the Kasungu based side still on position 14 with 11 points from 12 games while Dwangwa United are bottom of the standings with 8 points from 13 games.