Three ‘bullets’ down Soldiers

Three ‘bullets’ down Soldiers
Three ‘bullets’ down Soldiers

Africa-Press – Malawi. They traveled up north and conquered. The People’s Team on Tuesday demonstrated why they are the defending champions of the TNM Super League when they fought hard to beat Moyale Barracks 3-2 and dislodge Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on top position.

A brace from Ephraim Kondowe and a lone strike from substitute Lanjesi Nkhoma inspired FCB Nyasa Big Bullets to a hard-fought win over Moyale Barracks who needed to win at all cost in order to move out of the bottom three.

The defending champions are on top on goal difference as second-placed Mighty Mukuru Wanderers, who also have 47 points, lost 1-0 to Silver Strikers on Monday. What happened…

Fresh from a hard-fought 1-1 draw to Ekwendeni Hammers on Saturday at the same venue, Kalisto Pasuwa made four changes to his team by including Stanley Billiat, Precious Phiri, Ephraim Kondowe and Blessings Mpokera for Hassan Kajoke, Patrick Mwaungulu, Chawanangwa Gumbo and Lanjesi Nkhoma.

The hosts, who were also coming from a 1-1 draw away to Dedza Dynamos, also made some changes as Hassan Upindi was put on the bench for Charles Nkhoma.

Moyale started the match on a very high note when they broke the deadlock just after two minutes when Lovemore Jere was found unmarked by Gasten Simkonda’s delivery from a cornerkick to produce a powerful header that was just too much for Rabson Chiyenda to stop, 1-0.

Despite conceding early, the visitors did not lose concentration as they pushed forward in search of the equalizer, and they got their wish in a brilliant fashion in the 8th minute.

Maxwell Phodo flicked the ball to Kondowe, who just moved two steps before releasing a thunderous strike to the top corner of McDonald Harawa’s left-hand side, 1-1.

The hosts should have restored their lead in the 15th minute when a communication breakdown between Clyde Senaji and his goalkeeper allowed Raphael Phiri to fire at goal, but Gomezgani Chirwa came to Bullets’ rescue with timely clearance before crossing the line for a cornerkick which was easily defended by the defending champions.

For the next 15 minutes, the Lions of Kaning’ina had more than three set pieces closer to Bullets’s penalty box, but the one that would have gone in was taken by George Nyirenda who fired at goal only to be denied by Chiyenda who produced an excellent save for a corner kick which was cleared away by Senaji.

In this opening half, the visitors were defending against the winds, a situation that allowed Moyale Barracks to press for another goal, but Bullets defended with everything to go to the recess at 1-1.

In the second half, Bullets increased their attacking prowess, and with the winds now blowing against the hosts, it was just a matter of time before they doubled their lead. Three minutes into the final half, Kondowe doubled his tally with another excellent goal.

A long ball from Bullets landed on Phodo, who was brought down by Maneno Nyoni, but Referee Melusi Nyirongo applied an advantage rule that allowed the attacker to volley past Harawa who had already left his line of defense, 1-2.

Moyale coach Victor Chingoka brought in Upindi and Walusungu Mdoka for Nkhoma and Boniface Chuma in the 52nd minute to increase his attacking options.

Mdoka was a thorn in the fresh to Bullets defenders with his pace and the ability to take on defenders as twice, he forced the visitors’ defenders to commit errors that would have resulted into goals, but Chiyenda was very alert with excellent saves.

Pasuwa brought in Nkhoma for Billiat to add more firepower, especially to the right flank where Moyale Barracks was used to attack Bullets through Phiri.

With the half-hour mark played, Phodo nearly registered his first league goal when he was set through by Nkhoma, but the forward shot was well saved by Harawa.

The hosts had another opportunity from a set piece, which was delivered into the box by Jere, but Chiyenda rose to the occasion with yet another important save.

Moyale kept on pushing, and they should have had a goal in the 70th minute when Phiri found Upindi to the left flank, and the forward saw his powerful shot well stopped by Chiyenda for a cornerkick which wasn’t capitalized by the hosts.

As Moyale pushed everyone forward in a desperate bid for a goal, Bullets capitalized. Phiri was dispossessed by Nkhoma in his own half, and the winger used his pace to out-run Timothy Nyirenda into the box before firing past Harawa to his far post, 3-1.

With ten minutes left to play, Gumbo and Kajoke were introduced for Phodo and Kondowe, as managing the game at this stage was more vital for Bullets as the game was heading towards the final whistle

However, the match was brought back to live when Phiri reduced the arrears following a commotion inside Bullets’ defense when Senaji and his defensive partner, Yamikani Fodya, failed to clear a long ball from Upindi, 2-3.

The soldiers almost leveled in the 87th minute when Chiyenda failed to handle a long ball from Jere, conceding a corner that almost went in, but Chirwa was very alert with an excellent clearance

Three additional minutes to the clock saw Moyale pushing every player forward, but Bullets defended well to collect all the points to return to Blantyre with four out of the possible six and moved displaced Wanderers who have played three games than the defending champions.

As for Moyale, the defeat means they have lost six points within ten hours following the Super League of Malawi (Sulom)’ determination to award Civil Service United three points after the military side was found guilty of using a suspended player when the two teams met last month. This means Moyale is still stuck in the 14th position with 28 points from 27 games.

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