FDH Bank Cup: Bullets cash in


Nyasa Big Bullets took their dominance of domestic football to another level when they defeated their own Reserve team 1-3 to be crowned FDH Bank Cup champions at a fully packed Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Free-scoring forwards Babatunde Adepoju and Anthony Mfune plus Chimwemwe Idana scored for Bullets whilst Happy Mphepo was on the scoresheet for the junior team.

The victory saw Kalisto Pasuwa’s side becoming the second team to win the most prestigious club competition in its second edition and Bullets might be celebrating a double as they are on the verge of retaining TNM Super League championship, their fourth straight league title in a row.

The Reserves had the toughest mission on the day to stop their elder brothers who, before the final, were unbeaten in 36 matches across all the domestic competitions since September last year.

In all honesty, not many would have backed Enos Chatama’s side to deny Bullets from winning the Cup even though anything is possible especially in Cup competitions.

From the line up itself, it was clear that Pasuwa went for the kill as he named a very strong starting eleven, doing the opposite of how he approached last season’ encounter between the two teams in the last 16 when he made several changes and usef fringe players to play.

It only took 12 minutes for Babatunde to score his fifth goal of the tournament when he capitalized on a defensive mistake from Happy Mphepo and Andrew Lameck’ led defense.

The main team was all over their opponents who were forced to sit back and defend but somehow, Babatunde and Mfune were failing to advance into the most critical part of the game.

Mfune had another opportunity in the 13th minute when he was played through by Chirwa to the penalty box but the striker fired straight at Rahaman John in goal for the hosts.

At the other end, Emmanuel Saviel made an excellent run into the penalty box before releasing a thunderous shot which was well saved by Clever Mkungula.

It was an entertaining match, with both teams exchanging passes, the Reserves through Felix Demakude and Chimwemwe Yasin whilst the main team has Frank Willard, Patrick Mwaungulu and Idana dictating play in the midfield.

Soon after the half-hour mark, Babatunde missed an opportunity to double his tally when Lyton Chinong’one lost the ball in a very dangerous area to Mfune who fed his fellow attacker but the ball passes across the face of John’ goal posts for a goalkick
Mwaungulu was the latest to tempt John with his right footed long range effort that missed the upright with just an inch.

With less than twelve minutes left to play, Bullets Reserves started dominating possession and on several times, caught Pasuwa’s side on counter attacks but lack of experience saw them failing to capitalize especially from the wings where Chikumbutso Salima and Crispin Mapemba were operating from.

But with a minute left to play on the clock, Bullets Reserves leveled.

A freekick from Saviel was brilliantly saved by Mkungula but the ball landed safely to Chinong’one who sent it back into the box, causing commotion amongst Bullets defenders who in turn, saw Mphepo firing straight into the net to send the whole Stadium into massive celebrations as it was evident that the majority of the supporters were for the junior team, 1-1.

Bullets tried to respond with a quick counter attack but Lameck made a timely clearance in the additional minutes when Chirwa delivered a dangerous cross into the box, 1-1 it was at half time.

Come second half, Pasuwa brought in Ernest Petro and Stanley Billiat for Mwaungulu and Lanjesi Nkhoma to try to regain control of the midfield and in the process, make Idana more offensive as he was restricted in the opening half.

These changes were all what Pasuwa’s side needed as they completely gained control of the midfield through Petro who was good at recoveries and he kept on creating spaces for Idana to advance into the attacking third.

Ten minutes into the final half, Reserves won a freekick in a very promising position but it was wasted by Yasin who, instead of putting the ball deep, played it straight at Willard.

At the other end, Bullets launched a very stunning counter-hurricane attack through Chirwa who released Idana before delivering an excellent cross into the box to Mfune who produced a powerful header only to be denied by John who came out of his comfort to produce a save.

With Bullets pressurizing and passing the ball at will, it was just a matter of time before the visitors restored their lead.

Bullets Reserves struggled to contain Idana, Petro and Willard in the midfield and Chatama had to brought in Macray Chiwaya for Yasin to try to balance the match.

The People’s Team restored their lead in the 66th minute in a brilliant fashion.

The move started in the midfield again through Idana, Petro, Willard and Simbi who then set through Idana in the offensive zone before the attacking midfielder found Chirwa in the right flank.

The wingback wasted no time by releasing Idana inside the penalty box and the 2020/21 player of the season’ powerful strike to the far bottom corner was just too much for John to intervene, 1-2.

From there, it was Bullets passing the ball at will and at certain point of time, more than fifty passes were exchanged between the senior team players, with the Reserve team nowhere near the ball.

The match was put beyond Reserves’ reach in the 77th minute when an excellent exchange of passes between Idana, Petro and Willard found Chirwa again before delivering a million dollar cross into the box from which Mfune scored with a powerful header, 1-3.

At this point, the mission was almost impossible for the junior team and Chatama had to introduce Rafic Bahat in the 78th mimute to try to tame Bullets’ attackers who were coming wave after wave from all angles.

Hassan Kajoke came in for Babatunde in the 82nd mimute and he should have had a goal when he was found clear in the attacking zone but his shot was well saved by John.

Towards the last five minutes, the match was now turned into a training mode as the main team kept possesion with beautiful exchange of passes and it was clear that there was nothing the Reserve players could have done to stop the fun.

Referee Easter Zimba blew his whistle to mark the end of the match and deservedly saw Bullets winning their first silverware this season.

Willard was named man of the match, with Babatunde winning his second Golden Boot after finishing as the top scorer with five goals behind Mfune and Idana.

The win saw them walking away with a beautiful trophy and MK25 million in prize money.

This was a repeat of what happened in 1997 when Bullets played its own Reserve team which by then, it was known us Banyamulenge at Civo Stadium and the match ended 4-1 in favor of the main team.

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