Nyasa Big Bullets and Civil Service United played out a 1-1 draw in the TNM Super League match at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Bullets were coming straight from their 3-1 win over Red Lions on Wednesday whilst Civil were aiming to recover from last week’ 2-2 draw with Moyale Barracks.
The People’s Team got odd to a bright start and produced the first chance of the game after eight minutes when Chimwemwe Idana played a through ball into the path of Patrick Mwaungulu, who saw his effort saved by Tione Tembo.
At the other end, Chikaiko Batisoni saw his shot from the center of the penalty box well saved by Richard Chimbamba for a corner kick.
The hosts had numerous chances to take the lead before the half-hour mark but they were unable to convert chances created.
With 20 minutes played, Bullets had an opportunity to break the deadlock from a set piece but Mwaungulu hits the wall as the visitors kept on defending with everything to frustrate the home supporters.
But Bullets were able to hit the net in the 21st minute through Anthony Mfune who was found unmarked by Babatunde Adepoju inside the six yard box, 1-0.
Mfune should have doubled his tally when he was played through by Idana but his shot was well saved by Tembo.
The Servants almost responded just before the half hour mark when Muhammad Biasoni’s deflected goal-bound shot was saved by Chimbamba.
The home team was dealt with a massive blow when Kesten Simbi limped off after he collided with Luke Chima and the defender was replaced by Nickson Nyasulu towards the remaining minutes of the half whilst Civil introduced Festus Chikweza and Christopher Kumwembe for Biason and Batisoni to try to increase their attacking options.
After the recess, Civil Service came out the better side and came close to taking the lead from Chikweza’s long-range drive which went over the bar when passing the ball to Binwell Katinji seemed to be the better option.
Fifty minutes into the match, Sambani launched an attack from the left flank and released a shot which Tembo saved for a corner kick which they also easily defended.
Chances kept on coming and Mwaungulu had his shot hitting the upright when he was found unmarked by Babatunde’ flick from Isaac Badu’s long ball clearance.
The visitors made a triple substitution when Innocent Tanganyika, Nelson Kangunje and Arnold Masamba replaced Chima, Katinji and Henry Msowoya, with Hassan Kajoke coming in for Righteous Banda.
Bullets should have wrapped up the match in the 70th minute when Idana brilliantly got the better of Damiano Kunje and Bashir Maunde before feeding Babatunde who was alone and with the goalkeeper already beaten, many thought the ball was inside the net only to see the striker sending his effort wide when scoring looked easier than missing, that was the closest chance he had on the day and Bullets were made to pay for that miss moments later.
Tanganyika’s right footed strike outside the penalty box caught Chimbamba napping in the line of duty as he attempted to stop the ball with his legs instead of his hands and conceded in an unbelievable circumstance, 1-1.
Bullets brought in Precious Phiri and Henry Kabichi for Mwaungulu and Babatunde to try to organize the midfield which was now being dominated by Civil and the absence of Ernest Petro could be seen as Bullets struggled to regain the control of the hub.
Maunde should have given Franco Ndawa’s side a lead in the 86th minute when he released a thunderous shot from a freekick but Chimbamba was very alert and produced one of the best saves of the match.
Bullets had a late chance from a freekick but Sambani blasted over the crossbar and after 90 minutes of play, 1-1 it ended.
The result sees Bullets opening a nine point gap over Kamuzu Barracks who have played two games more than the defending champions.
Bullets’ next assignment is a midweek game against Sable Farming on Wednesday next week.
As for Civil, the draw means they remain in the 9th position with 29 points from 24 games.
At Mpira Stadium, first half strikes from Zeliat Nkhoma and Matias Nyirenda inspired Kamuzu Barracks to a comfortable 2-0 win over relegation threatened Sable Farming to move into the second position with 47 points from 24 games.
As for Sable, the latest defeat means they are still stuck in the bottom three with 18 points from 23 games.