Bullets, Nomads held

Nyasa Big Bullets

FCB Nyasa Big Bullets were held to a disappointing goalless draw away to Mafco FC on Wednesday despite creating plenty of goal scoring chances throughout the match.

Coach Kalisto Pasuwa made some changes to the side that eliminated Extreme FC in the FDH Bank Cup, with Clever Mkungula, Lanjesi Nkhoma and, Nickson Nyasulu coming in for Richard Chimbamba, Righteous Banda and Hassan Kajoke.

What happened

The People’s Team had their first opportunity in the third minute of the match when Gomezgani Chirwa’s excellent delivery into the box met Lanjesi Nkhoma who did everything right by producing a very powerful header which was well saved by Christopher Mikuwa.
Moments later, Patrick Mwaungulu dribbled past Dan Chimbalanga before releasing a shot from the far right, but once again, Mikuwa was equal to the task with another save.
On the other side of the field, Bernard Chimaimba’ dangerous pass into the six-yard box almost caught Bullets’ defense off guard, but Peter Kasonga failed to connect home when the goal was wide open.
Bullets kept on pushing for the opening goal, with Precious Sambani finding Anthony Mfune in the 18th minute, but the forward failed to hit the ball in a one one situation with the goalkeeper.
In more than three occasions, Bullets attackers opened up the hosts’ defense, but Mfune kept on losing the ball to the opposition in the most critical areas of the attacking zone.
Mfune had a penalty appeal in the 24th minute turned down by referee Godfrey Nkhakananga after he was brought down by Paul Ndhlovu inside the penalty box.
Mphatso Phillimon saw his long-range shot well blocked by Clyde Senaji before Mafco’ penalty appeal, which was also turned down by Nkhakananga.
Mwaungulu had another shot well saved by Mikuwa for a cornerkick, which the hosts easily defended.
In the 38th minute, Precious Sambani nearly caught Mikuwa napping in his defensive zone when he fumbled a long-range shot that landed at Mfune, but the striker was once again failed to convert the chance into the net, allowing Ndlovu to make a timely clearance.
The final minutes of the half saw Bullets pressing for the much needed goal, but the visitors were frustrated with Mafco’ resilience in defense, and it was goalless at the break.
After the recess, Pasuwa brought in Ephraim Kondowe and Eric Kaonga for Mfune and Sambani, who was cautioned in the early minutes of the match.
Kondowe’s introduction caused havoc to Mafco’s defenders who were finding it very difficult to stop his aggressive and attacking approach to the game.
Kondowe saw his header from Chirwa’s cross, missing the upright with just an inch.
Senaji was called into action in the 53rd minute to block a very dangerous cross from Chimaimba, who had gotten the better of Kaonga to the left-flank of the field.
Mafco nearly scored a goal in the 62nd minute when Chimbalanga’s brilliant freekick was saved by Mkungula and from the rebound, Kasonga’s header came off the woodwork to the disappointment of Prichard Mwansa’s led technical panel that was already up as they thought the ball was inside the back of the net.
Bullets had another clear opportunity in the 65th minute when Kondowe won the ball away from Ndhlovu, and with the goalkeeper already beaten, he volleyed over the crossbar in unbelievable circumstances.
There was a bizarre decision by Nkhakanga who deliberately awarded the ball to Kasonga in the six-yard box as what he termed as a punishment to Mkungula, who, according to the referee, was delaying the play. Fortunately for Bullets, Kasonga fired over the crossbar with the goal wide open and alone in the penalty box.

Hassan Kajoke was brought in for Lanjesi Nkhoma to try to improve the visitors’ attacking prowess in a desperate bid for the much needed goal against a very strong back-four.

The pressure from Pasuwa’s charges nearly paid off in the 87th minute when a cross from Kaonga found Kajoke who saw his header well cleared by Mikuwa, with Chawanangwa Gumbo’ goal-bound shot from the rebound well cleared by Kingsley Nkhonjera as the ball was destined to go in.

That miss proved to be the final chance of the day as referee Nkhakananga blew his whistle to mark the end of the match.

The result means Bullets have failed to dislodge Silver Strikers at the top of the standings as the defending champions are stuck in the third position with 31 points, a point behind the log leaders who have 32 points from the same number of fifteen games.

In other matches, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers missed an opportunity to move up in the standings when they were forced to a 1-1 draw at home by Red Lions.

Moses Nankumba had given the Zomba based Soldiers an early lead in the 7th minute, but Francisco Mkonda leveled in the 47th minute to earn a point in a match where they created plenty of chances.
At Civo Stadium, Extreme FC and Civil Service United also played out to a 1-1 draw.

Patrick Phiri scored in the 89th minute for Civil, but just when they thought that match was over, Beston Jimu scored in the 90th minute to end the match at 1-1.
The result means Extreme has 10 points whilst Civil are sixth with 20 points from the same number of 16 games.