Another giant gone. A 94th minute goal from Lyton Chinong’one was enough to inspire Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over TNM Super League side Blue Eagles FC to progress to the semifinals of FDH Bank Cup.
Bullets Reserves were the underdogs going into this particular match against a side which is currently doing very well in the top flight football.
It was a game of more chances, with the hosts creating two quick goal scoring opportunities through Emmanuel Saviel and Chikumbutso Salima but John Soko did well on both occasions to deny the Premier Division side from finding the back of the net.
In the 22nd minute, Saviel was found unmarked by Yamikani Mologeni and the striker did a very good job by beating the offside trap only to send his effort over the cross bar.
The miss hunted Chatama’s side as they conceded in the 35th minute through a beautifully well taken goal by Chifuniro Mpinganjira following a dead ball situation after the hosts’ defense were caught unaware by Micium Mhone’s quick taken throw in, 0-1.
But the youngsters were unfazed and remained calm as they kept on searching for the equalizer.
Eagles were dealt with a massive blow when Sankhani Mkandawire was stretchered off after sustaining what is suspected to be a groin injury and he was replaced by Raphick Bahati in the 41st minute.
Bullets Reserves dominated the remaining minutes of the half but they couldn’t find the equalizer as the opening half ended 0-1 in favor of Eliya Kananji’s side.
In the second half, the giant killers, who reached this stage after eliminating two Super League sides, only needed two minutes to put the match on level in a brilliant fashion.
Salima, who was mostly silent in the first half, used his pace to outrun Maxwell Gustava on the right flank before sending a very dangerous cross into the penalty box which was connected into the net by the advanced Wongani Kaponya, 1-1.
The hosts almost doubled the lead moments later when Salima curved well from the center of the penalty box only to see his effort missing Soko’s left hand goal post with an inch.
Fifty-three minutes into the match, Chatama pulled Kaponya for Crispine Mapemba to try to add more attacking prowess with his pace and ability to create spaces.
At the other end, Eagles launched a stunning counter-hurricane attack through Gilbert Chirwa who found Schumaker Kuwali in the attacking zone but his shot was blocked by Andrew Lameck who was very solid at the back alongside his defensive partner, Happy Mphepo.
With the clock ticking very fast for both teams, Salima had his penalty appeal turned down by center referee Mercy Mziya who judged him to have dived in order to win the spot kick.
With less than 15 minutes left to play, the visitors had another opportunity when Gaddie Chirwa launched another counter attack from the right before sending an inviting cross into the box but none from Eagles was able to put the ball into the net when the goal mouth was wide open and Rahaman John was defenseless as his defenders were beaten in the line of duty.
This chance was Eagles’ closest but there was more to play for as they created another golden opportunity in the 86th minute following Saviel’ error in the attacking zone which saw him losing the ball to Paul Master and the defensive midfielder found Chirwa who set up Trouble Banda but the winger saw his first attempt hitting the post before a quick recovery from John.
Referee Mziya added six minutes to the clock and the moment that all Bullets fans were waiting for arrived in the 94th minute.
Mologeni was the architect of the move to Salima who squared the ball into the box to Chinong’one who made no mistake by slotting home to send the whole Stadium into a frenzy of celebrations.
This was a final nail on Eagles’s coffin as Mziya blew her whistle to mark the end of the match.
Mologeni was named man of the match.
The result means Bullets Reserves will play fellow non-league side Extreme FC who defeated Changalume Barracks 2-0 at Balaka Stadium.
This also means there is a guarantee of having a non-Super League side in the final.
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