Nyasa Big Bullets are through to the last 16 of the FDH Bank Knockout Cup after beating Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve Team 5-4 on penalties after the regulation time ended 1-1 at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Deemed as a family affair, the match never lost its billing as the Reserve Team made the main team to sweat for their money with a scintillating performance which left head coach Kalisto Pasuwa puzzled as his side struggled to tame the youngsters who were in total control of the match.
The Reserve team kept on dominating play but they found themselves down in the 9th minute when Chima’s header beat Rahaman John in goals for the visitors into the net, 1-0.
The Rookies almost responded with a stunning goal when Biliat lost the ball inside Bullets’ half to allow Patrick Mwaungulu to create a shooting space from which he released a rocket outside the penalty box but Chiyenda was on point as he made a fantastic save for a corner kick.
For the next 15 minutes, the ball was in the hands of the Reserve team, playing one touch football and creating space in the final phase but to unlock Nickson Nyasulu’s led defence proved too difficult for Enos Chatama’s youthful side.
However, they found the equalizing goal in the 31st minute through a penalty kick which was awarded to the Junior side after a foul on Mwaungulu by Zonda.
The first attempt was taken by David Daud which went over the bar but the referee of the day penalized Fodya for an encroachment and ordered a re-take which was scored by Kesten Simbi.
Bullets tried to restore the lead and should have found the goal in the 38th minute but Bright Munthali’s shot was well blocked by Innocent Msowoya.
At the other end, Alex Tsamba, Mwaungulu and Frank Mlimanjala kept on pressurizing Bullets’ defence but thanks to Chiyenda who came to their rescue with another stunning save, 1-1 it ended in the first half.
After the recess, Chatama’s side continued from where they stopped, knocking the ball at will as Bullets kept on chasing to at least close them down in the attacking zone.
Mwaungulu was too difficult to mark and should have given the Reserve team a lead in the 56th minute but his curved shot was well blocked by Blessings Mpokera.
Sensing danger, Pasuwa had to make a tripple substitution, introducing Mike Mkwate, Hassan Kajoke and MacFallen Mgwira for Lungu, Zonda and Chima.
Munthali and Biliat exchanged passes in the attacking zone to release Petro whose shot missed John’ goal posts with an inch.
The clock was ticking very fast for the main team as they were desperately looking for the winning goal but Simbi, Kisten and Sydney Chabulika stood firm to protect John who was winning almost every aerial ball landing in his territory to the disappointment of Pasuwa’s led technical panel.
In the 73rd minute, Munthali had his volley outside the penalty box well saved by John before another miss from Biliat in the right flank of the field.
In the 81st minute, a brilliant work from Petro released Mgwira who wasted no time by shooting at goal but again, the ball could not found the back of the net as signs of discomfort started trickling down on Bullets.
As Pasuwa was preparing to introduce Ernest Kakhobwe and Chiukepo Msowoya in the final five minutes of the match, Mwaungulu almost finished the main team with a brilliant display of football inside the penalty box.
The right winger dribbled past Fodya and Nyasulu before firing at goal but Chiyenda was very alert as he saved the ball away for a corner, that was really close.
Msowoya and Kakhobwe were introduced for Munthali and Chiyenda whilst Frank Willard came in for Chimwemwe Yasin and 1-1 it ended.
In the shootout, Fodya, Kajoke, Nyasulu, Msowoya and Mkwate scored for Bullets, with only Biliat’ penalty being saved by John whilst Innocent Msowoya, Kitsen, Mwaungulu and Simbi converted their spot kicks but Willard and Yamikani Mologeni missed their spot kicks to send Bullets into the last 16 of the prestigious tournament.
At Mpira Stadium, Red Lions needed a 90th minute goal from Moses Nankumba to beat Simbi FC 3-2 in a match where the visitors had come from behind to lead 2-1.
Henry Kamunga scored in what is likely to be the quickest goal of the Round of 32 when he found the net in the 2nd minute but Edgar Edson leveled the scoreline before doubling his tally in the second half.
The Zomba based Soldiers were back on level terms through Mathews Simbeye before scoring the winner in the 90th minute through Nankumba to win the match 3-2 and progress to the Round 16.
At Civo Stadium, Mafco FC beat Dedza Dynamos 7-8 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
The division side had taken a lead through Laymeck Gaphani but Kingsley Nkhonjera equalized to take the match into the shootout from which the Salima based Soldiers triumphed.
At Nankhaka, Gilbert Chirwa’s double inspired Blue Eagles to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Ekwendeni United.