…Eagles hammer Savenda Chitipa United to move third…
Chimwemwe Idana’s lone goal in the second half inspired Nyasa Big Bullets to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Silver Strikers at a waterlogged Silver Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A victory was a must for the visitor who, before the match, were just a point above their fellow title chasers Be Forward Wanderers.
However, they had to do under a very difficult circumstances as the pitch was made unplayable when the weather took a turn for the worse and the rain began to belt down which made quality football hard to achieve.
However, despite the condition of the pitch, referee Alfred Chilinda went on with the game.
Bullets head coach Kalista Pasuwa made two changes to the side that defeated Kamuzu Barracks 2-0 on Wednesday, giving first starts to Patrick Phiri and Luke Chima for Peter Banda and Mike Mkwate.
As the rains kept on coming, chances were very few and both teams struggled to play their normal game.
It was Bullets who came closer to scoring in the half when Charles Thom was caught napping in the line of duty when he lost possession of the ball to Phiri but the winger arrived late on the ball, allowing the goalkeeper to regain control before saving the situation for the hosts.
At the other end, Khuda Muyaba thought he has scored a goal but his header from a Duncan Nyoni’s free kick was ruled out for offside by the first assistant referee Ibra Mafuleka.
Before kicking off the second half, Chilinda and match coordinator Bester Banda recommended to have the game stopped but this decision was turned down by Super League of Malawi (Sulom) Vice General Secretary Zechariah Nyirenda and Silver Strikers players who made it clear that the game would continue despite the condition of the pitch worsening minute by minute.
On the other hand, Bullets had no choice but to continue playing, forcing Pasuwa to make two quick changes, introducing Fischer Kondowe and Chiukepo Msowoya for Righteous Banda and Chima.
The change paid off for the visitors who were having a better ball possession that their opponents who struggled to stop Bullets from attacking using their wings.
Bullets should have gone ahead in the 66th minute when Nixon Nyasulu’s shot from a Charles Petro’s free kick hit the post.
Moments later, Hassan Kajoke rose to the occasion when his header from Kondowe’s corner was well saved by Thom, leaving every Bullets fan in agony and with the news that Be Forward Wanderers were leading at Kamuzu Stadium, it couldn’t get any worse.
However, the red side of the town celebrated in the 75th minute when Kondowe’s back-heel pass found Idana unmarked and the midfielder wasted no time by putting the ball into the net, 1-0.
The lead could have been cut short moments later when Muyaba overpowered Chirwa to send a diagonal ball into the box to Mike Tete who could only drive his effort away from Rabson Chiyenda’s goal.
The hosts kept on pushing for the equalizer and they almost punished Bullets when Nyoni was brought down by Nyasulu just closer to the penalty box but Muyaba blasted his effort over the cross bar from the set piece, a relief to Bullets fans who were only waiting for the final whistle from Chilinda.
Despite Silver Strikers’ pressure on Bullets in the remaining minutes, the defending champions stood firm to collect all the three points and registered their first win in Lilongwe in the current season.
The win sees Bullets maintaining a one point lead over Wanderers with 61 points from the same number of games.
Their next assignment is another tough fixture against Civil Sporting Club on Wednesday before returning for their final two home games against Moyale Barracks and TN Stars.
At Nankhaka Stadium, strikes from Foster Bittoni, Grant Zakumbuyo, Micium Mhone and Schumaker Kuwali saw Blue Eagles ending their winless streak with a comfortable 4-0 win over Savenda Chitipa United to dislodge Silver Strikers into the third position with 50 points from 29 games.
The Area 30 based side had a week to forget when they lost three consecutive games to drop into the fourth position but were able to bounce back against the Northern Region based side.
The defeat sees Chitipa United maintaining their 11th position in the standings with 31 points from 28 games.
The action continues on Monday with a clash between Mzuni FC and Masters Security at Mzuzu Stadium.