Mighty Mukuru Wanderers scored with two minutes to play to salvage a point against Nyasa Big Bullets in a lively Blantyre Derby played at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Bullets had taken a 2-0 lead before the end of the first 20 minutes but an amateurish mistake from goalkeeper Clever Mkungula who conceded a penalty after fouling Chiukepo Msowoya brought the Nomads back into contention before the break.
As usual, Bullets started the match brightly through Patrick Mwaungulu who saw his powerful shot at goal in the 2nd minute being saved by Pilirani Mapira in goal for the hosts.
Moments later, Chimwemwe Idana found himself in a shooting range but his weak shot went straight in the hands of Mapira who was the busiest of the two goalkeepers on the day.
The Nomads then had their first chance at goal in the 13th minute when Yamikani Chester was left unmarked on the center of the box and released a powerful shot which was equally saved by Mkungula.
It was in the 16th minute that Bullets broke the deadlock in a brilliant fashion.
A mistake from Alfred Manyozo Jnr saw his pass to Felix Zulu misplaced and landed to Ernest Petro who made a quick decision to release the ball to Lanjesi Nkhoma and the forward made no mistake to fire past the advanced Mapira into the net, 0-1.
The People’s Team kept on pressing and added their second goal in the 31st minute when a long ball from Bullets’ defense caught Ted Sumani off-guard and lost the battle to Mwaungulu who advanced into the penalty box before producing a thunderous shot which was just too much for Mapira, 0-2.
But the Nomads were brought back into the game on 36th minute when Mkungula left his line of duty and fouled Msowoya inside the penalty box for Stanley Sanudi to step up and slot the ball into the net, 1-2.
After the recess, Bullets restored their two-goal lead over their crosstown rivals through Idana who dribbled past Miracle Gabeya, Stanley Sanudi and Manyozo before sending the ball into the net with a brilliant finish, 1-3.
To others, the match was over but to the Nomads, it was the beginning of a comeback as Alex Ngwira made a triple substitution in the name of Josephy Balakasi, Francisco Mkonda and Misheck Botomani for Isaac Kaliyati, Sumani and Manyozo.
Bullets had an opportunity on 64th minute when Idana made a brilliant move into the box and found himself in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper but he was slow to make a decision as he allowed Kolawole to regroup before making a timely intervention.
Ngwira then brought in Muhammad Sulumba and Vitumbiko Kumwenda for Nyangulu and Msowoya on 64th minute to try to force something out of the match.
In the 66th minute, Kalisto Pasuwa brought in Hassan Kajoke and Macfallen Mgwira for Mwaungulu and Nkhoma.
It was after these changes that Wanderers capitalized and started advancing into Bullets’ half through Yamikani Chester and Sanudi who had been restricted from attacking by the two pacey wingers who were taken off.
At 74 minutes, the comeback started.
Bullets’ defense failed to clear Mkonda’s well taken corner kick and the ball landed directly at Gabeya who produced a powerful header into the net, 2-3.
Wanderers had another opportunity from a set piece in the 77th minute when Simbi’s clearance went straight to Chester and the winger wasted no time by shooting at goal only to be denied by Mkungulu for yet another corner kick.
With ten minutes left to play, Yamikani Fodya and Henry Kabichi were introduced for Frank Willard and Ernest Petro.
As the game was progressing, it was now Wanderers all over Bullets, with the midfield battle being the focal point as Bullets kept on chasing and Wanderers kept on pressing for the equalizer which would eventually come in the 88th minute through another set piece.
The ball was delivered into the box from Sanudi before being missed by everyone and reached to the far left where Chester was waiting.
The winger crossed the ball back into the box to Sulumba who made no mistake by beating Wali in an aerial combat before heading into an empty net, 3-3.
Wanderers almost won it in the additional minutes but Chester’s long range artillery missed Mkungula’s goal mouth with just an inch and after 90 minutes of entertaining football, 3-3 it ended.
It was a result which saw Wanderers fans dancing throughout as Bullets fans were left in total disbelief just seven days after conceding four goals against Moyale Barracks in the FDH Bank Cup before progressing through penalties.
Bullets are yet to register a win at Kamuzu Stadium since the start of the second round after they were forced to come from behind to draw 1-1 with Kamuzu Barracks before the latest 3-3 draw.
The result means Bullets’ lead at the top has been cut to 10 points. The league leaders have played 19 games whilst Blue Eagles, who won on Saturday over Mighty Tigers are second with 39 points and they also have a game to play.
As for Wanderers, the result means the gap with Bullets is still 16 points, third in the standings with 33 points but they too have a game in hand to play.
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