Bullets need one point to seal fourth consecutive league title

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Nyasa Big Bullets need one point from a TNM Super League clash with Moyale Barracks at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday to clinch a record extending fourth straight league title after they defeated Mighty Tigers 2-0 in a midweek fixture played at Mpira Stadium on Wednesday.

The People’s Team were full of energy as they continued from where they stopped last weekend when they hammered Karonga United 7-0 in the Airtel Top 8 Cup and the intentions were clear from the word go as they threatened Dalitso Khungwa’s goal area but they lacked the finishing composure to put the ball into the net.

As early as fifth minute, Bullets created a glorious opportunity when Patrick Mwaungulu delivered an excellent cross into the box from a freekick to Hadji Wali who was unmarked but the defender failed to direct his powerful header at goal as the ball went out of action for a goal kick.

Moments later, an exchange of passes between Frank Willard, Ernest Petro and Lanjesi Nkhoma released Chimwemwe Idana into the attacking zone and the midfielder created a shooting space only to be denied by Khungwa who produced a fantastic save.

At the other end, Tigers created their first realistic opportunity through George Chaomba who saw his effort hitting the side netting, the only moment that the hosts threatened Bullets in the entire half.

Bullets kept on playing their passing game but they were also prone to making unnecessary mistakes in the final third, with Babatunde losing possession anyhow and this allowed Tigers to defend with ease to the frustration of Pasuwa who was holding his head into disbelief.

Just after the half-hour mark, Lanjesi Nkhoma had another opportunity when he was at the receiving end of Gomezgani Chirwa’s cross but the forward, without any pressure from the hosts, headed his effort over the crossbar for a goal kick.

Bullets were pressing from all angles but to unlock Sammy Byson’ led defense proved a futile, with every assault inside Tigers’ half well defended by the hosts.

But in the 38th minute, Bullets broke the deadlock from the spot after Emmanuel Nyirenda had fouled Idana inside the box.

Babatunde Adepoju stepped up to score his 17th goal of the season which removed pressure on Bullets who were desperate for a goal, 0-1.

Soon after, right back Chirwa went on one his surging runs forward and was almost rewarded for it. But the defender got his attempt blocked by Kelvin Banda for a corner which the hosts easily defended and that was all for the half.

Very little changed in the second half, with Bullets still dominant but the only obstacle was failure to add more goals as Tigers defended with everything to frustrate the visitors.

Five minutes into the half, Idana nearly doubled Bullets’ lead when he directed his effort straight at Khungwa when the visitors had launched a stunning counter-hurricane attack through Babatunde, Nkhoma and Patrick Mwaungulu.

With Tigers struggling to contain Bullets’ pace, Trevor Kajawa made a double substitution when he brought in Jafali Maunde and Alfred Sapanga for Kondwani Chilembwe and Yamikani Thole.

Bullets had another glorious opportunity in the 60th minute when Babatunde played a dummy pass to Chirwa who released a powerful effort but Khungwa was once again equal to the task with a fantastic save.

Pasuwa wanted more firepower and with another game coming in the next three days, he had to substitute Nkhoma and Willard for Hassan Kajoke and Henry Kabichi whilst Frank Chikufenji replaced Anthony Ntondagowa for Tigers.

Idana was denied by the post in the 69th minute when Bullets, through Petro, Babatunde and Chirwa exchanged passes to release the midfielder who was on sight at goal only to hit the post to the relief of Kajawa’s men.

But The People’s Team were able to double their lead in the 73rd minute through Mwaungulu who only needed a touch to put the ball into the net following Babatunde’s excellent work from the left before his pass was connected into the net by the winger, 0-2.

With the match but over in the eyes of Pasuwa, Idana and Mwaungulu were replaced by Mphatso Magaleta and Misheck Selemani as one way of managing the players knowing that another game for Bullets was in the offing in the next three days.

Tigers also brought in Taniel Mhango and Shukulani Afick for Chaomba and Maunde to try to get something out of the match but Nickson Nyasulu’s led defense was just too good to concede a goal as they set their eyes on keeping a clean sheet heading into the final three matches of the season.

Towards the final minutes of the match, Precious Sambani was replaced by Alick Lungu as Bullets seemed to have been contented with the scoreline and what mattered was for them to keep the ball in order to kill time and it happened exactly how they planned as referee Shaibu Cassim blew his whistle to mark the end of the match.

The result means Bullets have opened a five-point lead over the second-placed Blue Eagles with 64 points from 27 games and they only need a point to officially retain the championship as they are having a huge goal difference with their closest challengers.

As for Tigers, they have finished the season on 12th position with 31 points.

At Champions Stadium, Juma Yatina and Marthias Nyirenda scored in the second half to inspire Kamuzu Barracks to a comfortable 2-0 win over relegated TN Stars to cement their third-place position with 57 points from 29 games.

The result means the Capital City Soldiers are seven points clear of Mighty Mukuru Wanderers who lost 1-0 to Moyale Barracks on Wednesday.

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