Luke Chima scored the solitary goal that saw leaders Nyasa Big Bullets defeat Mighty Tigers 1-0 in their TNM Super League encounter at Mulanje Boma Park on Saturday afternoon.
The home side, who were hoping to break into the top 6, failed to match Bullets’ first half pace as the log leaders missed lots of goal scoring opportunities.
Bullets showed their intentions early on as their midfield and defence collaborated well and stayed tight to stop Tigers from attaching.
Chima should have given the visitors a lead in the 14th minute when his header inside the penalty box was brilliantly saved by Christopher Mikuwa for a corner.
Moments later, Chima thought he had a goal but his goal bound shot hit his own player, Bright Munthali before allowing Mikuwa to clear the ball away to safety.
The hosts’ shot-stopper was the busiest on the day as he produced yet another save, this time around, denying Munthali who had released a rocket outside the penalty box.
However, Mikuwa’s stubbornness could not last any further as Bullets got their goal in the 30th minute.
A free kick from Righteous Banda found Chima unmarked inside the 6-yard box and the former Tigers forward made no mistake to slot in the ball past the goal custodian.
In the second half, Tigers brought in Edwin Carlos for Frank Chikufenji and this change is all they needed to control the midfield which was dominated by Bullets in the opening half.
As Bullets opted to sit back to defend their lead, Tigers exerted pressure by attacking from all angles but Charles Petro’s led back four was too stubborn to unlock, as it kept Tony Mbulu and Chikaiko Batisoni at bay.
Bullets almost doubled their lead through their scorer when his long range drive hit the upright, before a rebound from Peter Banda which resulted into a corner.
The visitors brought in Patrick Phiri for Banda while Fatsani Kaponje came in for Kondwani Chilembwe.
Tigers’ best chance of the half came in the 70th minute when Mbulu picked the pocket of Nixon Nyasulu and firmly struck a shot from outside the box but it just fizzed past the post to the relief of the visiting fans.
Bullets on the other hand were working tirelessly to keep Tigers at bay while looking to increase their lead too.
The hosts were putting up a fight nonetheless as they still looked for an equalizer and they had a great chance when Batisoni found himself in some space as he blasted his effort over the cross bar.
Chima was having a good game and he was very unfortunate not to score more than a goal as another of his goal bound effort was well saved by Mikuwa.
Both teams made their final changes towards the end of the match, with Blessings Phiri coming in for Anthony Namwera while Fischer Kondiwe and Aziz Mwakifuna came in for Peter Banda and Chima respectively.
Tigers kept on pushing for the equalizer but Bullets stood firm to collect maximum points to bolster their chances of defending their title.
The win sees Bullets maintaining a one point lead over fellow title chasers Be Forward Wanderers with 52 points from 24 games.
As for Tigers, the defeat drops them into 9th position with 35 points from 26 games.