Uchizi Vunga stars in Bankers’ win over Bullets


Uchizi Vunga was the star of the day as his two second half strikes helped Silver Strikers beat FCB Nyasa Big Bullets in a ceremonial match to officially launch the Castel Challenge Cup at Bingu National Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

This was the third meeting between the two top teams in the league, having played out to a 1-1 draw in the opening league match at the same venue before Bullets’ narrow 1-0 win over the Bankers on Kamuzu Day celebrations at Civo Stadium.

With the international break ongoing, the two teams made wholesale changes to their squads by giving an opportunity to fringe players who have hardly tested some league action since the beginning of the new season.

FCB Nyasa Big Bullets suffered a 2-3 defeat to Silver Strikers in a ceremonial match to officially launch the Castel Challenge Cup at Bingu National Stadium on Saturday.

At some point, The People’s Team were 2-0 down, but they fought back to level 2-2 before conceding again towards the end of the match.

Assistant Coach Peter Mponda made a wholesale of changes to the starting eleven as he handed several fringe players a start to the first eleven, replacing regulars who were watching the match from the terraces.

Bullets started brightly in the first half as they pressed in search of an early goal and they should have opened their account in the 5th minute when Gomezgani Chirwa delivered a dangerous cross into the box to Anthony Mfune who failed to tap in from a close range.

In the 8th minute, Righteous Banda made his way into the penalty box and released a powerful shot that hit the upright, and Mfune failed to score from the rebound as he was blocked by Chisomo Mpachika.

Mfune thought he had given his side a lead in the 10th minute, but his goal was ruled out for offside by first assistant referee Edward Kambatuwa.

The Bankers then settled down through Uchizi Vunga, who took charge of the midfield alongside Tathedwa Willard and Chinsinsi Maonga.

Their first attempt at goal came in the 14th minute through Maonga, whose freekick went straight into the hands of Rabson Chiyenda.

The area 47 based side was in total control of the match as Bullets’ midfield failed to handle Vunga, who was everywhere, making things happen for his side.

The final ten minutes of the match belonged to the Bankers who made several dangerous moves into Bullets’ defensive zone but thrice, they attacked and got disappointed with their own level of finishing as they allowed the hosts to make some timely clearances through Kesten Simbi.

But, with one minute added to the clock, Willard produced a magical moment with his left foot, beating Chiyenda to his near post and into the net, 0-1, and that was all for the half.

In the second half, Mponda made four substitutions to his side, bringing on board Hassan Kajoke, MacFarlane Mgwira, Thomson Magombo, and Maxwell Phodo for Mfune, Chirwa, Kenneth Pasuwa and Henry Kabichi.

These changes improved Bullets in all aspects and they should have leveled in the 48th minute when Mgwira got the better of Emmanuel Muyila before sending the ball into the box but there was no red shirt around, allowing Mpachika to clear the ball away from the area.

At the other end, Atusaye Nyondo’ goal-bound ball was cleared by Collins Okumu before crossing the line for a cornerkick, which was well defended by the hosts.

The People’s Team was denied another opportunity to equalize in the 50th minute when Kajoke set up Mike Mkwate, who saw his shot hitting the post.

Just after missing that chance, Bullets conceded again in a similar fashion to the first goal.
Magombo lost possession to Maonga, who switched the ball to Zebron Kalima before finding Vunga unmarked on the edge of the box.

The former Mzuzu Warriors midfielder wasted no time by releasing a thunderous shot, which was just too much for Chiyenda to stop, 0-2.

The two goal deficit made Silver to relax and made some changes by introducing goalkeeper Emmas Nyirenda, Innocent Shema and Maxwell Paipi for Pilirani Mapira, Willard and Adel Kaduya, who was earlier on denied by Chiyenda when his powerful shot was saved by the goalkeeper.

Bullets capitalized and reduced the arrears in the 71st minute through Precious Phiri, who scored a cracker outside the penalty box, 1-2.

The hosts kept on pushing for an equalizer and should have leveled in the 75th minute when Kajoke’ dangerous cross caught Silver’s defense napping and created an opportunity for Phodo who fired over the crossbar when the goalkeeper was already beaten in the line of duty.

But the equalizing goal eventually came in the 81st minute through Kajoke, who beat the offside trap to smash the ball into the net, beating Nyirenda, who could only see the net shaking and Bullets celebrating, 2-2.

As the hosts were busy celebrating their goal, Silver restored the lead in a dramatic fashion when Bullets defenders failed to clear a long ball from Mpachika and found Vunga in the attacking zone before firing past the advanced Chiyenda into the net, 2-3.

The goal was scored in the 83rd minute.

Bullets kept on pushing for the leveler but they suffered a set back in the additional minutes when Mkwate sustained a very serious injury and he he was replaced by Ephraim Kondowe whilst Emmanuel Kaunga came in for Maonga to defend their slender lead and in the end, Bullets, despite fighting tooth and nail, suffered a defeat.

Next for Bullets is a home assignment in the FDH Bank Cup round of 32 on Wednesday afternoon whilst Silver will host Ntaja United in the same round of the competition at their base.

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