…Eagles thrash Karonga United to finish third…
Chiukepo Msowoya came off the bench to score a crucial goal as Nyasa Big Bullets beat Civil Sporting Club 1-0 at Civo Stadium on Wednesday afternoon to consolidate their lead at the top of the standings in the TNM Super League.
This was another Bullets victory within 72-hours in Lilongwe to put one foot in the title defence.
Bullets head coach Kalista Pasuwa made two changes to the side that defeated Silver Strikers 1-0 on Sunday, handing first team starts to Peter Banda and Bright Munthali for Righteous Banda and Luke Chima.
It was a first half of mixed fortunes, with both teams pushing for the opening goal but it was Bullets who came close to scoring when Patrick Phiri missed after he was found one on one with Tione Tembo in goal for the hosts.
At the other end, Ibrahim Sadiki forced Rabson Chiyenda into making his first save for a corner, which had no impact as Bullets cleared the danger away from their area.
With ten minutes to play, Tembo made an important save for his side to deny Munthali from finding the back of the net.
In the second half, Bullets made a double substitution, introducing Msowoya and Banda for Phiri and Munthali as the defending champions desperately looked for the much needed opening goal.
The hosts were better in the opening stages of the half, with Blessings Tembo and Innocent Tanganyika winning more ball possession at the expense of Chimango Kayira.
However, Bullets regained back control of possession through Idana and Banda but to unlock the Nixon Mwase led Civo defence proved difficult for Pasuwa’s men.
Fischer Kondowe was introduced for Peter Banda while Lanken Mwale came in for Muhammad Sulumba.
The visitors came close to scoring again when Banda and Kajoke combined well to release Idana who was in a one to one situation with the keeper only to drive his effort an inch away from Tembo’s goal.
At the other end of the field, Petro made a brilliant block to deny Raphael Phiri from scoring after Chiyenda was caught napping in the line of duty.
The visitors pushed for the much needed goal but Civil’s defence could not open up at the back, leaving every Bullets supporter in total disarray.
There were many periods in this game when a goal seemed in doubt, when doubt was coursing through Bullets, and Wanderers’ deep belief looked like it might finally be rewarded.
Against that, Bullets were pounding away, both metaphorically and figuratively. There were so many passages of patient passing, players like Banda and Kondowe just holding on for that opening but Civil’s defence couldn’t let them in.
However, that was all blown away in the 88th minute when Kelvin Phiri lost possession to Gomezgani Chirwa who wasted no time to find Kajoke before delivering a million dollar cross into the box which was well connected into the net by Msowoya, 1-0.
The noise in the crowd said it all. The reaction of the players said it all. This was some release, to go with the timing of the minutes from which the goal was scored.
And when Referee Chidziwitso Simbi blew his whistle to mark the end of the match, Bullets players knew that they are just a step away from defending the title
Bullets will play their final two games against Moyale Barracks and TN Stars at home while fellow title chasers will travel to Lilongwe to play Mlatho Mponela and TN Stars in Kasungu.
The win takes Bullets to 64 points, a point above Wanderers from 28 games played.
At Nankhaka Stadium, Micium Mhone scored a quadrate, with another strike from John Malidadi Jnr to inspire Blue Eagles to a comfortable 5-0 victory over Karonga United.
The win sees the Area 30 based side finishing third with 53 points while Karonga United have dropped to 10th with 34 points from 29 games.