Bullets hammer Extreme FC to move top of the table

Nyasa Big Bullets player

Strikes from Patrick Mwaungulu, Yamikani Fodya and Anthony Mfune handed the defending champions FCB Nyasa Big Bullets a 3-0 victory over bottom-placed Extreme FC to move top of the TNM Super League log table to dislodge Silver Strikers who lost 1-0 away to Red Lions on the same day.

The two teams were meeting a week after they faced off in the FDH Bank Cup Quarterfinals in which Bullets edged out their opponents on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the regulation time at Civo Stadium last week.

What happened

From the onset, Bullets pressed for an early lead and should have had one when Frank Willard’s long ball into the offensive zone caught Blessings Juma napping to concede a cornerkick which the Mchinji based side easily defended.
The hosts kept on pressing in order to find an early lead that would have unsettled the visitors to disturb them from playing anti-sporting delaying tactics but every dangerous move was well dealt with by the back four, including an excellent goalkeeping from Juma who has proved to be one of the outstanding performer for the Central Region based outfit.

The first clear scoring opportunity was created by Gomezgani Chirwa, who saw his dangerous pass into the box, destined for Phodo well stopped by John Chalamanda.
At the other end, Beston Jimu’s penalty appeal was turned down by referee Mayamiko Kanjere, who awarded Bullets an advantage for a goalkick.

The People’s Team thought they had a goal in the 21st minute when Phodo scored from the rebound following a powerful shot from Willard, but the second assistant referee raised his flag for an offside call.

But, the deadlock was broken in the 24th minute when Willard’s througball found Patrick Mwaungulu, who made a brilliant three-point turn before smashing a very powerful shot that was just too much for Juma, 1-0.

Though beaten, Juma was still in control of his penalty box as he produced a stunning save to deny Chawanangwa Gumbo from finding the back of the net with his long-range effort outside the penalty box.

The visitors brought in Tony Phiri and Daniel Phiri for Francis Pukusu and John Chasowa to try to fix their midfield, which was being dominated by the hosts.

Extreme FC had their share of opportunities as they failed to put the ball into the net when Jimu and Gregory Mwase teared Bullets’ defense apart only to see the ball rolling out of action when Clever Mkungula was already beaten in the line of duty.

Nkhoma missed one of the easiest opportunities when he failed to tap in from an excellent delivery from Mwaungulu, who was causing havoc to the visitors’ defense.
The final minutes of the half saw Bullets pressing into the opposition’ half, but twice, Juma was very equal to the task with excellent and unbelievable saves.

In the second half, both teams started with a slow pace, but Bullets created their first scoring chance when Gumbo’ long-range volley missed Juma’s goal mouth with just an inch for a goalkick
It was an improved performance from the visitors who were able to contain the pressure from the hosts, unlike in the first half where Bullets dominated and posed more threat at goal despite failing to convert some of the clear cut chances in the six-yard box.

Juma was once again called into action to stop a Mwaungulu’s dangerous pass into the box, which would have found Phodo at the other end of the field.

In the 64th minute, Levison Gopani, Chifundo George, and Babangida Ishaya replaced Phiri, Justice Honde, and Mwase to improve their attacking prowess in a desperate bid for an equalizer which never came.

Mkungula was forced to make a save to deny Jimu from scoring when Bullets’ defense was caught sleeping on duty after it failed to clear a long ball from Chalamanda.
Pasuwa made a tripple substitution when he brought in Ephraim Kondowe, Anthony Mfune and Kenneth Pasuwa for Nkhoma, Phodo and Petro in search of more goals as the hosts were unable to make any impact in the final third of the match.

Immediately, Kondowe won a penalty when he was brought down by Juma, who wanted to stop a long pass from Pasuwa inside the penalty box.

Fodya stepped up in the 74th minute to double Bullets’ advantage with a goal from the spot, 2-0.

The defending champions completely buried their opposition in the 79th minute when Mfune scored an excellent volley from Mwaungulu’s pass inside the penalty box to beat Juma who was nowhere near the ball, 3-0.

Mwaungulu should have doubled his tally when he was set through, by yet another brilliant pass from Willard, but his shot was well saved by Juma.

With four minutes left to play, Gumbo was replaced by Precious Phiri.

Phiri had his rare opportunity in the 87th minute when he won the ball in the offensive zone but Chalamanda was very much alert with an excellent block.

After 90 minutes of play, Bullets walked out with all the three points with a convincing 3-0 win to move top of the table with 34 points, two above second-placed Silver who lost 1-0 to Red Lions courtesy of a first half strike from Brown Gondwe.

The defeat means Extreme FC are still bottom of the standings with 10 points from 17 games.

In another match, a Clemment Nyondo’ first half strike inspired Dedza Dynamos to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the third-placed Chitipa United to move into the 7th position with 22 points from 17 games, denying the opposition an opportunity to move top of the table.

The result means Chitipa are two points behing Bullets with 31 points from the same number of games.