Defending champions FCB Nyasa Big Bullets maintained a two point lead over second-placed Silver Strikers with a comfortable 4-0 win over Red Lions at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Bullets were coming from a 1-all draw away to Civil Service United, whilst the Zomba based soldiers were coming from a 1-0 home defeat to Moyale Barracks last week.
From the onset, the signs were clear that the visitors, who are 15th in the standings with just four points, were in for a heavy beating as Bullets pressed early for an opening goal to unsettle the already troubled side.
As early as three minutes, Chawanangwa Gumbo, who came in for Mike Mkwate, saw his ferocious shot hitting the post after he was found unmarked by Maxwell Phodo.
But the People’s Team was able to break the deadlock in the fifth minute when Phodo set up Lanjesi Nkhoma, who made an easy finish to beat the advanced Nenani Juwaya into the bottom corner, 1-0.
The hosts kept on passing at will, and they should have added another goal in the 10th minute when Ernest Petro’ long range pass found Phodo to the right.
The forward did everything right only to send his shot inside the box over the crossbar for a goalkick.
Bullets’ failure to convert their chances into goals almost ended badly when Collins Okumu made a mistake closer to the penalty box, losing the ball to Alfred Sapanga, who made a brilliant run before feeding Davie Major but the striker failed to tap in when the goal was wide open and allowed Clyde Senaji to make a timely intervention.
With 23 minutes played, Bullets had another golden opportunity missed when Phodo got the better of James Mwetse and found Nkhoma on the edge of the six-yard box unmarked. The forward, who is the current leading scorer in the league with seven goals, produced a weaker shot, which was easily saved by Juway.
Nkhoma was very unfortunate as his goal was ruled out for offside when he was set through by Phodo.
The 1-0 margin wasn’t a true reflection of the game as Bullets kept on creating and missing chances.
At the other end, Mike Kumanga’s charges registered their first shot at goal when Mwetse called Richard Chimbamba into action from a 30-yard drive from a freekick, which was tipped over the crossbar by the shot-stopper.
Bullets kept on dominating and creating chances, but they lacked the finishing composure to completely finish off the game.
Next to blow up a clear-cut goal, scoring chance was Phodo.
The forward was once again released to the right by Frank Willard but just when everybody thought he would go for the kill, he opted to pass the ball to Nkhoma when hitting the ball with power was the better option. He lost the ball as Lions’s defended well through Gibson Nkhonjera.
Bullets should have paid dearly with three minutes left to play when Major beat the offside trap and fired a powerful shot that was well saved by Chimbamba, and that was all for the half.
In the second half, Bullets continued from where they stopped. On average, Bullets created a chance in every three minutes, but to put the ball inside the net proved to be a very difficult task for Kalisto Pasuwa’s men.
Just five minutes into the final half, Patrick Mwaungulu made an excellent run to the right before delivering a very dangerous pass into the box but Juwaya was very alert as he produced yet another important save to keep his team in the game.
The hosts came knocking again. Within the space period of three minutes, the visitors survived three bullets from Pasuwa’s charges.
First was Nkhoma who saw his goal-bound tap in well blocked by Mwetse and from the rebound, Phodo was denied by Nkhonjera’ last minute intervention and the last person to test Juwaya was Precious Sambani who saw his shot well saved by the shot-stopper.
Phodo was also denied by the second assistant referee as his goal was ruled out for offside.
Sambani came knocking when his powerful header from a Mwaungulu’s corner kick hit the upright.
Pasuwa had to introduce Anthony Mfune and Stanley Billiat for Mwaungulu and Phodo to try to add more fire power upfront in search for more goals from the opportunities created.
Mfune doubled Bullets’ lead in the 70th minute when he scored a beauty from Nkhoma’s brilliant pass into the six-yard box, 2-0.
As Juwaya was bombarded with missiles thrown by Bullets attackers, Chimbamba was at ease as Red Lions posed no threat to his goal area.
In the 76th minute, Nkhoma failed to connect home from another excellent pass from Billiat, who was enjoying every minute of the match since coming in as a substitute.
The two teams made substitutions in the 80th minute, with Hankey Machira and Ferguson Mtondo replacing Hadji Kung’unde and Andrew Biyo whilst MacPharlane Mgwira, Kenneth Pasuwa and Blessings Mpokera replaced Nkhoma, Gumbo and Willard.
Billiat made it 3 for Bullets with a beautiful volley after he was at the receiving end of Sambani’s million dollar pass into the box.
Juwaya was to the rescue when he made a fantastic save to deny Mgwira from scoring.
But Juwaya couldn’t stop Sambani from registering his first goal of the season when his powerful header found the back of the net from Billiat’s delivery from a corner kick, 4-0 it ended.
The result means Bullets are still unbeaten from seven games and are topping the standings with 17 points, seconded by the Central Bankers who hammered Bangwe All Stars 4-1 at Bingu National Stadium.
Stain Davie scored a hat-trick whilst Patrick Macheso scored the other goal, with Chikumbutso Salima scoring the rookies’ consolation goal.
The latest defeat leaves Bangwe All Stars in the 14th position with six points from the six games.
At Dedza, Trouble Kajani came off the bench to cancel Clement Nyondo’s first half strike to help Mighty Tigers earn a point over Dedza Dynamos.
Tigers who were coming from another draw with Silver are 11th in the standings with 8 points whilst Dedza is 13th with 7 points from seven games.
At Civo Stadium, Binwell Katinji strike on the stroke of half-time inspired Civil Service United to their first home win, beating Kamuzu Barracks 1-0 to move into 7th position with 9 points from seven games.
The defeat sees KB dropping into 10th position with 8 points from the same number of games.
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