Bullets choke first win, Silver Strikers held


…as Tigers register first win, Bangwe All Stars still winless…

FCB Nyasa Big Bullets registered their first win of the season with a comfortable 3-0 win over Chitipa United at Karonga Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

It was Bullets’ second biggest win over their opposition at the venue after they recorded a similar result in 2019.

It was a sweet revenge for Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges who lost 1-0 in the last meeting between the two teams last season.

What happened

The opening minutes saw the hosts pressing for an early lead on a waterlogged surface due to heavy rains being experienced in the Northern Region, but Bullets’ back-four covered Nyasulu and dealt with all the aerial threats with ease.

The two teams kept on struggling to cope with the condition of the field, but Jackson Beza, Rajab Nyirenda, and Kenson Mlenga posed more threat with their high-pressing football.

Bullets’ first shot at goal came in the 20th minute when Precious Sambani’s cross found Mwaungulu unmarked on the edge of the penalty box, and the winner chested the ball down before releasing a thunderous shot that was well saved by Kennedy Nakhaima for a corner-kick which was easily defended by the hosts.

Three minutes later, Bullets made a breakthrough brilliantly. Nakhaima misjudged a cross from Mwaungulu and allowed the ball to land at Adepoju who made a quick turn before firing at goal to beat the shot-stopper in the line of duty, 0-1.

At the other end, a freekick from Nyirenda closer to Bullets’ penalty box went wide in the 32nd minute.

Bullets should have doubled their lead in the 35th minute when Mwaungulu released Babatunde in a one-on-one situation with Nakhaima, but the forward volleyed over the crossbar when the goalkeeper had already left the goal wide open and all that was needed was just a simple touch to completely dash the hosts’ hopes of making a comeback.

Babatunde’s miss could have proved costly as Chitipa launched a very stunning counter-hurricane attack from their right side, but Nyirenda saw his goal-bound shot well cleared by Gomezgani Chirwa before crossing the line. Both Sambani and Nyasulu were beaten in their defensive zones by the attacking midfielder.

The first half ended 0-1 in favour of The People’s Team.

After the recess, both teams started very slowly as the wet pitch started taking a toll on players. Mabuchi Msiska came in for Mlenga in the 57th minute. The winger was tightly marked by Sambani.

It was a final half of fewer chances, with the majority of action being played in the midfield where Aaron and Petro were operating for Bullets while Gideon Sululu and Msiska were playing for the visitors.

Petro had an opportunity to register his name on the scoresheet, but his weaker shot was easily saved by Nakhaima, from there, the hosts pressed forward for a goal, but Bright Masebo, who came in for Stimela Muyira, fired wide when the ball landed on his path from Blessings Joseph’s cross.

With 67 minutes played, Pasuwa brought in Ephraim Kondowe and Ronald Chitiyo for Babatunde and Anthony Mfune.

The two players, alongside Mwaungulu, Petro, and Aaron, caused more havoc on Chitipa’s defence as Chris Lwemba and Lamson Lukali’s defensive partnership failed to handle their speed in the offensive zone.

As Bullets pressed, they opened up a space to their left side by allowing Nyirenda to move into the penalty box, but his shot was well saved by Nyasulu for a corner kick which was easily handled by the shot-stopper.

Chitiyo almost doubled Bullets’ lead when he exchanged passes with Kondowe, but his shot came off the post in unbelievable circumstances, keeping the host’s hopes of equalising alive.

But, Kondowe buried them with a stunning goal in the 78th minute when he made a brilliant finish from Mwaungulu’s long ball that caught Lwemba napping in the defensive line. The forward chipped the ball over the advanced and defenceless Nakhaima to double Bullets’ lead, 0-2.

The routing was completed in the 81st minute when Kondowe dribbled past Lukali before sliding the ball to Mwaungulu who made a first-time shot to beat Nakhaima to his right-hand side, 0-3.

The combination of  Mwaungulu, Kondowe and Chitiyo was a thorn in the flesh for the hosts who were struggling to handle them.

Kondowe nearly doubled his tally with yet another volley, but Nakhaima was equal to the task with another important save.

Precious Phiri, Kenneth Pasuwa and Chawanangwa Gumbo came in for Mwaungulu, Petro and Aaron in the 86th minute.

Phiri almost found the back of the net when his shot missed the upright with just an inch.

In the additional minutes, Kondowe nearly doubled his tally when he was set through by Gumbo, but his effort missed the goal when Nakhaima was already beaten, and in the end, Bullets collected their first three points in their third league match.

Their next assignment is on Wednesday against Baka City at the same venue.

At Dedza Stadium, Charles Chipala came off the bench to score the equalising goal against Dedza Dynamos to share the spoils.

Promise Kamwendo scored Dynamos’s opening goal towards the end of the first half, but Chipala haunted his former side with an important goal.

The result means the Bankers are level on points with the current log leaders, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers with 7 points while Dynamos are 14th on the log with two points.

At Mpira Stadium, Bagwe All Stars and Karonga United played out to a 1-1-all draw. The hosts scored their goal through Aubrey Maloya from the spot while Saulos Moyo levelled for the visitors.

Bangwe are anchoring the table with just a point while Karonga are 9th with four points.

At Kamuzu Stadium, a lone strike from Brian Ntondagowa helped Mighty Tigers to register their first win of the season over Mzuzu City Hammers and moved into the 8th position with four points.

It was the visitors’ first loss of the season, having won their first two games in a row. Hammers remain third in the standings with six points.