Ten-man Mafco FC survived a late assault from Nyasa Big Bullets to hold the defending league champions to a goalless draw at Civo Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the draw, Bullets moved to third position from fifth but are now three points behind early pacesetters Silver Strikers FC.
It was a match full of drama as Maurice Chiumia was sent off by referee Alfred Chilinda for deliberately kicking Zicco Mkanda in an off the ball incident.
It was a game of few chances as Mafco FC opted for a defensive football to invite pressure from the visitors.
Back to back shots from Meshack Selemani and Chimwemwe Idana were saved by Jailosi Kapalamula in goal posts for the Salima based Soldiers.
At the other end, Richard Chimbamba produced a fantastic save to deny Josephy Donsa from scoring.
In the 38th minute, referee Alfred Chilinda sent Maurice Chiumia off for deliberately kicking Mkanda in an off the ball incident.
Moments later, it was Paul Ndlovu who deliberately brought down Selemani, forcing Chilinda to flash a yellow card on the hosts Captain.
Selemani was Bullets’ liveliest player on the park and proved to be the main attacking threat as he caused havoc inside Mafco FC’s defence but Mkanda wasn’t clinical enough to put the ball into the back of the net.
In the second half, Idana played a pin-point ball to send MacFallen Ngwira through the right flank but his decision to shoot proved costly as he blasted over the bar when he could have just passed the ball to Mkanda who placed himself in a very good shooting position.
In 58th minute, Bullets outnumbered the hosts when Ngwira was in possession of the ball, with Mkanda, Idana and Seleman in his sight but the winger made a selfish decision to dribble past Ndlovu only to lose the ball in an unbelievable circumstances.
On 61st minute, Ernest Petro came in for Blessings Mpokera whilst Paul Phiri and Zikani Sichinga replaced Walusungu Mpata and Emmanuel Chipeta.
The hosts had a chance to take the matters into their own hands but Stain Malata’s freekick was blocked by Sankhani Mkandawire.
Ngwira wasted another ball, this time around, opting to score from the impossible angle when Mkanda and Selemani were unmarked in the six-yard box.
Pasuwa brought in Chiukepo Msowoya for Ngwira as he tried to increase his attacking option for the much needed goal.
However, it was Mafco FC who should have scored towards the end of the match when Donsa was found unmarked but his shot went wide off Chimbamba’s goal posts.
As Bullets tried to force something out of the match, the Soldiers stood firm to frustrate them to collect a point which has seen them moving to third position with 19 points from ten games.
Pasuwa admitted that his boys did not show up.
As for Mafco, they are still seventh with 18 points from twelve games.
At Kasungu Stadium, a Chiletso Zoya’ first half strike inspired TN Stars to a hard fought 1-0 over Karonga United.
This means TN Stars are sixth with 19 points from 13 games whilst Karonga United are tenth with 12 points from eleven games.