A strike in each half from Maxwell Gasten Phodo and Stanley Billiat inspired FCB Nyasa Big Bullets to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over their bitter rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers to retain the NBS Bank FAM Charity Shield and set a record of winning it for the sixth consecutive time.
Bullets, beaten at the same venue in the Airtel Top 8 Cup through penalties, responded by taking the game to their neighbors, and ultimately, they got their reward.
Kalisto Pasuwa had Gomezgani Chirwa and Precious Sambani out of the match due to injuries, but his youngsters proved beyond reasonable doubt that, when called in, they can deliver for The People’s Team.
As for Mark Harrison, he had no injury concerns and deployed his best eleven as he was looking forward to his second trophy since arriving at the Lali Lubani.
The opening minutes belonged to The Nomads, who were passing the ball at will to unsettle the hosts, but they defended with maturity, especially in the wings where Gaddie Chirwa and Wisdom Mpinganjira were operating from.
Bullets soon regained control of the midfield as Mkwate tormented Alfred Manyozo’s led midfield and created spaces for Nkhoma and Mwaungulu to advance into the offensive zones to add numbers in attack.
The pressure from Bullets paid off in the 9th minute when Mwaungulu’s short corner kick to Mkwate was delivered into the box and met the towering Nyasulu whose attempt had hit the upright.
Fortunately for Pasuwa’s men, the ball landed straight at Gasten Phodo, who had an easy task of tapping the ball inside an empty net, 1-0.
The goal was a motivation to Bullets as they kept on pressing, passing at will and causing havoc to the Lali Lubani side who struggled to close Nkhoma, Mwaungulu and Mkwate down with their high pressing football.
Phodo should have had his second goal just after 23 minutes when he was found unmarked in the six-yard box, but his goal-bound shot was blocked by Lawrence Chaziya for a corner kick, which they easily defended.
It was now Mwaungulu’s turn to test William Thole just meters away from the penalty box in the 32nd minute when he received a pass from Nkhoma, but his shot went over the bar.
Pressure kept mounting on Wanderers, and Mark Harrison had to substitute Emmanuel Nyirenda, who was playing his first derby, for Misheck Botomani to switch from4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2 formation.
But Bullets kept on pushing and they should have had a goal in the 43rd minute through Phodo who launched a stunning counter-hurricane attack from the left-flank but he was very slow and allowed the Nomads to regroup and covered Thole.
With 45 minutes played, Bullets suffered a massive blow when Nkhoma sustained an injury and he was replaced by Anthony Mfune.
The People’s Team went to the dressing room with a slender lead.
After the recess, Harrison quickly pulled out Manyozo Jnr for Peter Cholopi to try to control the midfield that belonged to The People’s Team.
The change slightly improved Wanderers’ stability, with Cholopi now freeing Mphatso Kamanga and Felix Zulu in attack, but to unlock Nyasulu’s led defense proved to be a very difficult task for Harrison’ side.
The Nomads had their first shot at goal in the 50th minute when Kamanga’s powerful volley was well saved by Chimbamba.
The Nomads introduced Vincent Nyangulu and Vitumbiko Kumwenda for Christopher Kumwembe and Kamanga whilst Stanley Billiat came in for Mwaungulu to try improve their attacking prowess.
Two quick back-to-back freekicks to The Nomads nearly produced something for them but Chimbamba was equal to the task with brilliant saves.
Billiat doubled Bullets’ lead in the 71st minute in a dramatic fashion.
Chaziya had lost the ball to Mfune, who sent a brilliant pass into the far end of the six-yard box and was connected into the net by the winger, 2-0.
The goal triggered massive protests from Wanderers who thought there was a foul in the build-up to the goal, but Alfred Chilinda stood firm and maintained his decision.
The Nomads were still in it and in the 77th minute, they won a freekick to their right-flank.
Stanley Sanudi stepped up and delivered a very dangerous cross into the box which caught Bullets’ defense napping in the line of duty, allowing Botomani to simply put the ball into the net, 2-1.
It was a nervous last ten minutes for Bullets as they endured a very offensive Wanderers, who were in desperate need for a goal to take the match to penalties.
Pasuwa brought in Yamikani Fodya, Righteous Banda and Chawanangwa Gumbo for the injured Lungu, Gasten Phodo and Mkwate.
With three minutes left to play, Chimbamba denied Nyangulu from scoring when he connected well from Mpinganjira’s cross and with two minutes added to the clock, it was just a matter of time for Pasuwa’s charges to win their first trophy before kicking off the new season.
Follow us on Twitter: