Patrick Mwaungulu’s stunner takes Bullets top of Super League


Patrick Mwaungulu scripted a beautiful picture of the ultimate wonder goal- a combination of power, pace and precision in a beautiful exhibition of his star quality on Wednesday afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium to inspire Nyasa Big Bullets to a hard fought 3-2 victory over Civil Service United to move top of the TNM Super League.

Bullets fans flocked to Kamuzu Stadium with enthusiasm as the team returned to their base for the first time in three weeks following their engagements in the CAF Champions League.

With injuries hitting the squad, Kalisto Pasuwa made several changes to the starting eleven that defeated Dragon FC 1-0 in the return leg of Champions League on Sunday in Lilongwe, with Kesten Simbi, Blessings Mpokera and Kenneth Pasuwa replacing Yamikani Fodya, Frank Willard and Chawanangwa Gumbo whilst the visitors had every player on board for such a crucial assignment.

Bullets were the first to enforce the press as the whistle sounded, pushing the red shirts forward with their attacking formation that did not bother the visitors in the early stages.

But Civil rose to the occasion and started taking the game to the hosts who, at times, were forced to retrieve in order to stop the quick wingers in Chikaiko Batison and Muhammad Biason from sending dangerous balls to Binwell Katinji and Luke Chima.

Timothy Silwimba had the first shot at goal, which was well saved by Richard Chimbamba for a corner kick, which was easily defended by Clyde Senaji.

At the other end, Patrick Mwaungulu made his way into the right flank before sending a million-dollar pass to Lanjesi Nkhoma, who fired wide from the close range.

The visitors were the first to break the deadlock in the 19th minute when Muhammad Biyason was left unmarked to the far right before his shot was saved by Chimbamba only to see the ball landing at Chima who made a simple finish, 0-1.

The goal should have pushed Bullets to do more in terms of attack but the visitors grew with confidence and kept more possession, especially in the midfield where Lloyd Aaron and Moses Banda were in full control of the middle of the park.

Three minutes later, it was 2-0. Simbi failed to clear a long ball from Biason, allowing Katinji to smash the ball with power into the top right corner of Chimbamba’ goal post.

This meant Bullets had a mountain to climb in search of at least a goal before the halftime in order to remain in contention for something extraordinary.

Instead, the visitors seemed to be in control and were never bothered by the home crowd as they kept knocking the ball around to the pleasure of rival fans who were all over the place, celebrating Civil’s two-goal advantage against a side that hardly concede more than a goal at home.

Bullets looked sluggish defensively as Civil upped their game in search of more goals, and they should have had another one when Katinji’s powerful strike was well blocked by Senaji.

The hosts were handed a relief in the 39th minute when the first assistant referee, Happiness Mbandambanda raised her flag to award them a penalty following Silwimba’s foul on Mwaungulu.

Nkhoma stepped up, but his spot kick was well saved by Tione Tembo for a corner kick, which the Servants easily defended to frustrate the home fans in a red and white attire.

But Nkhoma collected his mistake when he reduced the arrears with a powerful shot after he was found unmarked by Gomezgani Chirwa, 1-2.

It was a sigh of relief for the hosts who were now pressing for the equalizer before the break, but it was too late as referee Mayamiko Kanjere blew his whistle to mark the end of the half.

In the second half, Pasuwa brought in Ephraim Kondowe, Peter Banda and Willard for Anthony Mfune, Pasuwa and Simbi, a clear signal to the visitors that Bullets were now going for the kill in order to come back into the game.

As expected, the hosts were level with just four minutes into the half when Kondowe capitalized on defensive errors, beating Tembo, who had already left his goal area into the net, 2-2.

This was an opportunity for Bullets to score more goals as they increased their attacking efficiency, but Tembo was very outstanding as he denied Nkhoma from scoring with an excellent save.

Moments later, Kondowe saw his well taken curve besting Tembo but not the post as he was denied by the upright for a goal kick.

As the hosts pressed for the winning goal, Civil sensed danger and brought on board Patrick Phiri and Innocent Tanganyika for Biason and Chima.

The two changes brought some rhythm to the visitors who were now pressing Bullets and nearly had a goal when Katinji scored from an offside position.

Civil awoke and were in control as Phiri latched onto the ball from a line-out and forced it out wide to Tanganyika, whose pace got the better of Precious Phiri. The legendary player then put through a low cross with an incoming Katinji storming forward, only for his header to go wide of the target.

The hosts, who were hoping for more from their team, started panicking as they shouted on top of their voices to at least push their players into attack and grab something out of the match, but the Servants were unmoved and dictated play.

However, Bullets should have had a goal when Ernest Petro forced Tembo into making an easy save.

Katinji was then replaced by Frank Banda, as Bullets now opted for their wingers to produce something out of nothing, but Civil kept on defending to frustrate the red side of the town.

At 75 minutes, Banda saw his freekick going over the crossbar, missing Tembo’s goal with an inch for a goal kick.

MacFarlane Mgwira replaced Nkhoma, who suffered a muscle clamp to his leg in the 80th minute.

At the other side of the field, Chimbama nearly made a costly mistake when he left his line of duty to try to block Tanganyika from scoring, but the shot-stopper missed the ball and allowed Aaron to have a clear view of the goal only to send his shot over the bar.

Minutes later, Tanganyika was set through by Banda but instead of sending the ball to Phiri, who was unmarked inside the box, he decided to take things into his own hands but fired wide off Chimbamba’s goal mouth.

Just when everybody thought the game was heading to a stalemate, Mwaungulu produced a moment of magic.

He didn’t even need more time to put the ball into the net, his instincts ordering him to go for the kill, assuring him it was worth the try from his position and propelling him to shoot from his angle.

His goal was an absolute beauty, the ball rising like a laser-guided missile, arrowing towards the right hand post of the keeper, the energy generated by the sweet contact powering it past Tembo and right on target, 3-2.

This goal was enough to see Bullets collecting all the three points as they moved top of the standings with 37 points from 18 games, just a point above rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers and Chitipa United who have 36 points each from 19 games.

As for Civil, the defeat leaves them in 10th position with 24 points from 19 games.