Nyasa Big Bullets have tightened their grip at the top of the TNM Super League standings with a comfortable and crucial 2-0 win over Ekwendeni Hammers on Wednesday afternoon to open up a nine point gap over second-placed Blue Eagles FC.
Nyasa Big Bullets have extended their unbeaten run to 17 games and have opened up a 12 point lead over the second-placed Blue Eagles after they beat Ekwendeni Hammers 2-0 at Mzuzu Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
This was Bullets’ second straight win from their Northern Region outing after they came from behind on Sunday to beat Rumphi United 3-1 at Rumphi Stadium.
The visitors created their first goal scoring opportunity in the 3rd minute when Patrick Mwaungulu delivered a dangerous ball from a freekick to Babatunde Adepoju who produced a powerful header only to see his effort missing Chancy Mtete’s left hand goal post with an inch.
At the other end of the field, Yohane Nkhoma, who was causing havoc to Bullets’ defence won a freekick which was taken by Wongani Lungu but Clever Mkungula was quick to intervene with a first time catch to keep the game at goalless.
With a bumpy and dry pitch, secondary balls were the order of the day and more action was played in midfield where the hosts dominated through Chawanangwa Gumbo, Lungu and Blessings Singini.
But Bullets made sure to break the deadlock before approaching the half-hour mark through Precious Sambani, who seemed to be enjoying life at Mzuzu Stadium months after he netted the opener against Moyale Barracks at the same venue.
Gomezgani Chirwa used his pace to outrun Allan Kaunda in the right flank before sending an inviting low cross pass into the box which was cleared away by Harry Nyirenda for a corner kick.
It was from this set piece from which Sambani rose up to the occasion with a powerful header which was just too much for Mtete to stop, 0-1.
However, Hammers were given an opportunity to level in the 27th minute through a freekick on the edge of the penalty box after a handball by Kesten Simbi but Gumbo stepped up before sending his effort over the crossbar for a goalkick.
With ten minutes left on the clock to play before the recess, Adepoju had two chances but all the efforts were blocked for corner kicks which the hosts easily defended to keep their hopes of a possible come back alive.
Bullets were dealt with a massive blow when Simbi was stretchered off in the 45th minute after he collided with Nkhoma in an aerial combat to sustain a head injury and he was replaced by Nickson Nyasulu.
In the second half, Hammers created their first chance in the 51st minute from a corner kick which was delivered into the box to Nkhoma but his powerful drive was blocked by Nyasulu for another set piece which went straight into Mkungula’s hands.
The hosts should have equalized in the 57th minute when Lungu beat the offside trap to release Nkhoma who opted to shoot from far when passing the ball to his striking partner would have made sense as Bullets’ defence was torn apart in the line of duty.
This chance haunted Edson Kadenge Mwafulirwa’s side some minutes later when Nyasulu doubled Bullets’ lead with a simple tap in from Macfallen Mgwira’s corner kick, 0-1.
Mgwira and Yamikani Fodya had replaced Patrick Mwaungulu and Henry Kabichi to try to win the midfield battle which was dominated by the hosts.
Mwafulirwa brought in Gift Chunga and Isaiah Nyirenda for Ndaziona Chatsalira and Isaac Msika.
But it was Bullets who kept on creating good scoring opportunities, with Ernest Petro and Babatunde all firing over the crossbar from the center of the penalty box.
72 minutes on the clock, Precious Phiri replaced Chirwa, a tactical substitution from Pasuwa who has Moyale Barracks next on the menu in a cup competition.
In the 75th minute, Mgwira almost registered his name on the scoresheet when was found unmarked in the six-yard box from Babatunde’ cross but he mis-timed his header to send the ball wide when scoring seemed more easier than missing.
Next to be introduced by Mwafulirwa was Mabushi Msiska who replaced Singini on 78th minute whilst Alick Lungu came in for Sambani.
Nyirenda made a timely intervention in the 82nd minute to deny Chimwemwe Idana from adding Bullets’ third goal after he was set through by Petro.
The hosts had their final substitution in the 83rd minute when Gumbo was replaced by Ganizani Muomba but this made no impact as Bullets claimed all the points to take their tally to 48 points from 18 games.
In other matches, Zeliat Nkhoma canceled out Bashir Maunde’s goal to help Kamuzu Barracks earn a vital one point after a 1-1 draw with Civil Service United.
The result means Kamuzu Barracks have failed to dislodge Mafco FC into fourth position with both teams tied at 28 points each but the Salima based Soldiers have a superior goal difference over their fellow brothers in arms.
At Balaka, Red Lions were 4-2 winners over struggling TN Stars.
The result sees the Zomba based Soldiers moving up to tenth in the standings with 20 points from 17 games, with TN Stars stuck on 14th position with 12 points from the same number of games.
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