Bullets held, open up an eight point lead over Blue Eagles


Nyasa Big Bullets maintained their unbeaten start to the season after they were forced to a 2-2 draw away to Silver Strikers in a TNM Super League match played at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Straight from last week’s 1-1 draw at home to Civil Service United, Kalisto Pasuwa made four changes to his squad, handing starts to Clever Mkungula, Henry Kabichi, Blessings Mpokera and Lanjesi Nkhoma for Richard Chimbamba, Chimwemwe Idana and Isaac Badu.

On the other hand, the hosts were determined to bounce back from last week’s 1-0 defeat to Blue Eagles, a result which saw them dropping down on the table.

It was a perfect start to the match from the visitors who had a clear chance in the first minute through Nkhoma who blasted his effort over the crossbar after he was found unmarked by Babatunde Adepoju.

But The People’s Team broke the deadlock in the second minute through Anthony Mfune who made a brilliant run into the box before releasing a powerful shot which was just too much for Charles Thom to contain, 0-1.

This goal was a wake up call to The Bankers who dominated and played a high pressing football in search of the equalizer and their midfield enjoyed more possesion through Chikondi Kamanga, Levison Maganizo and Osward Maonga but they kept on missing chance after chance to disappoint Leo Mpulura’s led technical panel.

Mkungula was called into action in the 14th minute when he saved Maganizo’s long range effort for a corner kick which nearly went in but Bullets defense rose to the occasion to frustrate the home crowd.

Minute later, Gomezgani Chirwa, who was improvised as a Central Defender following injuries that have hit Bullets, made a million dollar clearance to deny the Area 47 based side from finding the equalizer when Chawanangwa Kaonga got the better of Precious Sambani before sending a dangerous ball which Chirwa intervened to concede a corner.

It was Silver Strikers against Bullets’ back four as the hosts kept on pressing from all angles. Thrice, within a space period of five minutes, Mkungula had made several saves to keep the visitors in the game.

In the 25th minute, Kabichi was yellow carded following his foul on Maganizo closer to the penalty box but Maonga failed to take full advantage as his effort went over the crossbar for a goalkick.

Sensing danger, Pasuwa pulled Kabichi out for Petro to try to gain control of the midfield which was entirely dominated by the Central Bankers.

But Bullets kept on chasing and they should have conceded in the 40 minute when Kaonga made a brilliant run far right before delivering a cross which was missed by everyone when tapping in seemed more easier than missing.

At the other end, Mwaungulu was played through by Mfune but the winger was late to arrive and his weaker shot was well saved by Thom for a corner kick which was easily defended by Nickson Mwase.

With two minutes added to the clock, it should have been level when Kaonga was set through by Maganizo only to fire over the cross bar and that was all for the half which was dominated by the Area 47 side.

In the second half, Silver Strikers made their intention known as they attacked from the word go and had an opportunity in the 48th minute through Patrick Macheso who failed to connect home from Zebron Kalima’s cross from the left-flank of the field.

Bullets had substituted Frank Willard and Nkhoma for Idana and Fodya to try to tame Silver’ dominance in the midfield.

The Bankers eventually got their equalizer in the 46th minute through Kaonga who scored from the spot following Mpokera’s tackle on Kalima, 1-1.

However, the hosts’ celebration was shortened by Mwaungulu who restored Bullets’ lead in the 49th minute with a powerful drive outside the penalty box to beat Thom into the bottom corner, 1-2.

Mpulura made his first changes when he brought in Stain Davie and Blessings Tembo for Maganizo and Maonga.

At 66 minutes, it was 2-2.
A long ball from Maxwell Paipi to Davie found its way to Macheso who played a smart move by getting the better of Kesten Simbi and Chirwa before smashing the ball past Mkungula who was highly exposed by his defense.

It was a one sided affair and the hosts should have had another goal in the 70th minute when Tembo’s freekick was flicked by Davie to Kalima who failed to connect home from a close range.

Bullets introduced Precious Phiri for Mwaungulu to try to add balance from a game which was dominated by home side.

Bullets didn’t stop searching for the much needed goal but they were forced to retrieve to avoid being caught on the counter especially from the wings where Kaonga and Kalima were operating.

Mfune produced a good run to the left side but he opted to shoot instead of just finding Babatunde who placed himself at a right position inside the box.

With 90 minutes played, Innocent Shema was red carded after he deliberately kicked Mfune but the one man advantage couldn’t be capitalized as the referee blew his whistle to mark the end of the match.

With the latest draw, Bullets are eight points clear of the second placed Eagles who were beaten 1-0 away to Ekwendeni Hammers on the same day.

The People’s Team have 57 points from 23 games whilst Silver Strikers are seventh in the standings with 39 points from 25 games.

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