…Mafco in back-to-back defeats, Chitipa, Karonga United register first wins…
Defending champions FCB Nyasa Big Bullets put in a performance of patience and persistence to defeat Extreme FC 1-0 at Civo Stadium on Saturday afternoon to record back-to-back victories in the TNM Super League.
The People’s Team secured the victory against an ultra-defensive ‘Mchinji boys’ thanks to a 63rd minute strike from substitute Hassan Kajoke.
From the word go, the visitors had a better ball possession as they passed at will, especially in the middle of the field where Mike Mkwate, Ernest Petro, and Frank Willard were operating, but they were up against a side that was very brilliant in defense, forcing Bullets to use secondary balls in a desperate bid for a goal.
Bullets offered the first threat on goal at 13th minute through Patrick Mwaungulu, whose shot from a freekick hit the well organized defensive war, led by their captain Gift Daniel.
In the 22nd minute, Mwaungulu was found in the six-yard box unmarked by Lanjesi Nkhoma but the winger, who did everything right, saw his shot well saved by Blessings Juma, who was very outstanding between the goals posts for the rookies.
The hosts were forced to make an early substitution when Yeremiah Phiri sustained an injury, and he was replaced by Francis Black in the 27th minute.
At the other end, Extreme FC’s only realistic chance fell to Black in the 33rd minute when his powerful shot outside the penalty box missed Richard Chimbamba’ goal with just an inch, the closest from the rookies.
The hosts sat back and looked to hit on the break, though they lacked firepower in front courtesy of a defensive display from Nickson Nyasulu and Collins Okumu alongside Alick Lungu and Blessings Mpokera.
The last chance of the first half fell to Bullets, as they almost took advantage of a miscommunication in Extreme FC’s defense. Francis Pakusu’s clearance left Petro in no-man’s land and set through Nkhoma. But the striker’ powerful shot inside the penalty box was once again well saved by Juma, leaving the game goalless at the break. As Kalisto Pasuwa predicted, it was indeed a very difficult game for his side against an unknown opponent.
The Zimbabwean tactician, whose side had a comfortable 4-0 win over Mafco FC at home last week, made a tripple substitution when he brought in Righteous Banda, Hassan Kajoke and Anthony Mfune for Maxwell Gasten Phodo, Mkwate and Nkhoma to try to improve their attacking prowess in search for the much needed opener.
Indeed, these changes improved Bullets’ offensive options as they pressed from all angles in order to find the back of the net.
Bullets pressed, with Extreme FC sitting deep, allowing the visitors to enjoy the vast majority of possession, and the away side carved out another chance on 56th minute when Banda’s powerful header was well saved by Juma, who looked unfazed and was in total control of every ball thrown at him.
The People’s Team looked to freshen up their attack, but the hosts continued to be an immovable object in defense.
The Mchinji based side had even a rare scoring chance of their own to score in the 60th minute, but Beston Jimu narrowly missed getting onto Black’ knock-down in the six-yard box.
Bullets’ persistence and patience was rewarded in the 63rd minute when Mwaungulu’s excellent delivery into the box from a freekick was connected well into the net by Kajoke, 0-1.
But moments later, the hosts had won themselves a set piece which Black delivered into the box to John Chalamanda, who was unmarked in the box, but his header went wide from the close range.
Jimu was replaced by Junior Banda for the rookies in the 70th minute as they also tried to push for the equalizing goal.
Mfune had a long-range rocket well saved by Jimu in the 73rd minute, and Bullets were just very unfortunate not to add more goals through the chances they created throughout the match.
Kajoke almost doubled his tally and Bullets’ lead when he was set through by Mpokera, but he was once again denied by Juma in the 83rd minute with yet another excellent save.
After 86 minutes on the clock, Banda thought he had scored, but his powerful shot outside the penalty box hit the upright when Juma was already beaten in the line of duty.
The two teams made changes in the 90th minute when Levison Gopani replaced Griffin Ng’anjo for the hosts whilst Chawanangwa Gumbo and Precious Phiri came in for Mwaungulu and Petro.
There was more drama coming as Juma was sent off in the added minutes by referee Kondwani Kamwendo after the shot-stopper left his line of duty to kick Mfune, who was found in a one on one situation and should have scored, only to be fouled by the goalkeeper.
Lungu stepped up, but his freekick was poorly taken and and that was last straw in the bottle as Kamwendo blew his whistle to mark the end of an intriguing encounter between the two sides, who were meeting for the first time in history.
The win sees Bullets maintaining their second position with seven points from three games, two behind early set pacers Mighty Mukuru Wanderers who had a 2-1 win over Ekwendeni Hammers at home.
The Nomads, buoyed by their excellent start to the season, scored two quick goals in succession through Gaddie Chirwa and red hot striker Christopher Kumwembe.
It was a game in which the Nomads dominated by the hosts who should have had a lead inside the opening ten minutes but Mphatso Kamanga failed to tap in from the close range after he was found unmarked by Chirwa.
But a breakthrough arrived in the 25th minute when Chirwa connected well from a Stanley Sanudi’ cross, 1-0.
Five minutes later, Sanudi delivered another excellent cross from a corner kick to find Kumwembe, who headed home to give Wanderers a convincing lead before the break.
In the second half, Wanderers sat back and invited pressure
from the visitors who reduced the arrears in the 74th minute through Wongani Zulu.
The visitors pressurized Wanderers, but they couldn’t find the leveler as the hosts defended with everything to record their second home win, and third in a row to maintain their perfect start to the season.
At Karonga Stadium, Chitipa United recorded their first win in the new season when they defeated Dedza Dynamos 3-1.
The newly promoted side got their goals through a brace from Ramadan Mntafu and Kenson Mlenga whilst Clement Nyondo scored Dedza Dynamos’ consolation goal.
The result sees Chitipa United moving into the fourth position with four points from three games.
As for their opponents, the defeat leaves them in seventh position with the same number of points and games.
At Chitowe Stadium, Mafco FC suffered their second defeat in a row when they went down 2-3 to Karonga United in one of the most thrilling contest in the top flight league.
With the delay to kick off the match, the visitors were 0-2 up inside the first 20 minutes through Alfred Chizinga and Josiah Duwa but the hosts leveled with five minutes left to play through Auspicious Kadzongola and Zikani Sichinga.
But on the 57th minute, Davie Tobias restored Karonga United’s lead with a brilliant finish, and they held on to record their first win of the season, moving into third position with 5 points from three games.
The latest defeat leaves Stereo Gondwe’s side on 8th position with three points from three games.
The action continues on Sunday, with Mighty Tigers hosting Civil Service United at Mpira Stadium whilst Blue Eagles will be visitors to Bangwe All Stars at Mulanje Park Stadium.
At Bingu National Stadium, Silver Strikers will welcome Red Lions whilst Kamuzu Barracks will entertain Moyale Barracks in a military affair at Civo Stadium.
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