Bullets blunt Mzuzu City Hammers to move second, Crerk Sporting bounces back with a win

TNM Super League-Bullets Vs Mzuzu City Hammers

FCB Nyasa Big Bullets were made to sweat for points as they claimed a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Mzuzu City Hammers at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It was a must-win match for the defending champions who have had a tough start to the season after recording four draws and two wins in the last six matches.

As for the visitors, they came into this match in a good run of form as they were sitting in the second position with 13 points after their hard-fought 1-0 victory over Kamuzu Barracks last week.

What happened…

Kalisto Pasuwa, with several injuries to his team, was forced to make more changes once again to his first eleven as Blessings Mpokera partnered Colin Mujuru in defence while Gomezgani Chirwa returned to his right-back position while Precious Sambani was given a start ahead of Crispin Mapemba who started when we played Mafco FC last week.

Hammers were missing the services of Rashid Yasin who was injured, but they replaced him with Mustapher Jack Maulana who did a commendable job in the middle of the field.

From the word go, it was evident that the visitors had a special plan, which was to deny the hosts a chance to make things happen. 

There was less space to operate in as Hammers closed them in and made life very difficult for Pasuwa’s charges who survived a scare in the opening minutes when Mpokera gave away possession to Chimwemwe Chunga, but his dangerous cross missed every maroon and yellow shirt inside the penalty box.

But against a run of play, Bullets broke the deadlock in the 7th minute following a defensive mistake from Jimmy Msiska who allowed Babatunde Adepoju to send a low cross pass to Chawanangwa Gumbo who had a simple task of putting the ball into an empty net, 1-0.

The goal rejuvenated Bullets and saw the hosts, through Lanjesi Nkhoma, hitting the post when, for the second time running, Hammers’s defence caught napping in the line of duty, especially to where Chisomo Sambani was operating.

In the 15th minute, a brilliant through ball from Nkhoma into the box nearly caused havoc, but both Babatunde and Hassa Kajoke went for the same ball and failed to convert, allowing Eddie Jamu to collect the ball with ease.

Mwaungulu was the next player to be denied by Maulana when his goal-bound shot was blocked by the defender for a corner-kick which was easily defended by the visitors.

At the other end, Chunga’s long-range shot was easily saved by Richard Chimbamba, and moments later, Mujuru lost possession to Isaac Msiska in the defensive zone, but the midfielder was late to decide and allowed Bullets to regroup.

Bullets’ passing lacked precision as the hosts hardly completed five passes, with the visitors dominating play from the midfield where Msiska was the dominant force for Hammers.

With the half-hour mark played, Mujuru was at it again, losing possession to Chunga, but the visitors failed to capitalize as Chimbamba came to Bullets’ rescue with a timely save.

In the 35th minute, Gumbo made a first-time connection from Mwaungulu’s pass to test Jamu who came out on top with a save, and minutes later, Chirwa’s cross into the box met Babatunde who did everything right only to see the ball rolling out of action when the shot-stopper was already beaten in the line of duty.

Pasuwa brought in Yamikani Mologeni for Mujuru and this change saw Chirwa partnering with Mpokera in defence to try to bring stability against a highly pressing side that was attacking from all angles in search of an equalizer.

With 40 minutes played on the clock, Jamu came to Hammers’ rescue with a brilliant save to deny Mwaungulu from scoring after he pounced on a loose ball from Sambani. The corner-kick was once again well-defended by the visitors.

There were no chances at the other end in the time that was left before the recess and Bullets held on to a slender first-half lead.

After the recess, it only took three minutes for the hosts to create a golden opportunity when Lloyd Aaron found Babatunde unmarked, but the forward, with a one-on-one situation with Jamu, failed to convert his chance into a goal as his first attempt was saved by Jamu, and from the rebound, he failed to tap in as Wongani Lungu came in time to block the striker from tapping in from the close range.

Mwaungulu, in the 54th minute, saw his freekick outside the penalty box missing the upright with an inch.

Bullets sealed the win with a brilliant goal from Mwaungulu in the 64th minute.

A cross from Nkhoma found Mwaungulu who produced a powerful header that hit the post, and on the second attempt, Jamu tipped the ball over the crossbar for a corner-kick.

And straight from the setpiece, Mwaungulu slotted the ball home, beating Jamu and all Hammers defenders in their line of duty, 2-0.

Ernest Petro and Mapemba came in for Kajoke and Gumbo while Aubrey Simbi and Precious Phiri replaced Mathews Banda and Chawanangwa Mkandawire for Hammers in the 66th minute.

Two set pieces for the visitors almost caught Bullets defenders napping, but Hammers lacked the finishing composure to punish the hosts who were very jittery at the back.

With ten minutes left to play, Ronald Chitiyo came in for Nkhoma while Samson Chiona replaced Nyirenda for Hammers.

Chitiyo’s introduction saw Bullets increasing their attacking pace, but Babatunde and Mwaungulu failed to find the back of the net when plenty of chances were created by the substitute, in the end, Bullets held on to register their third win of the season and moved second on the table with 13 points, three points belong the current long leaders, Silver Strikers who will host Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on Sunday in Lilongwe.

At Civo Stadium, a lone strike from Stain Patrick inspired Crerk Sporting Club to a hard-fought 1-0 win over FOMO FC to bounce back from their last two back-to-back defeats in the last games.

The win sees them move into the 8th position with 10 points while FOMO have dropped into the 12th position with 7 points.

At Aubrey Dimba ground, Kamuzu Barracks and Moyale Barracks played out to a goalless draw.

The result sees KB dropping into fifth position with 12 points while Moyale are seventh with 10 points.