An equalizer by Diverson ‘Agogo’ Mlozi salvaged an important one all draw for giants Big Bullets at Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo against a much-improved Blantyre United side during Saturday’s TNM Super League encounter.
Fresh from their 3-2 defeat against league leaders, Red Lions, Big Bullets were determined to press the home side right from the first whistle and sent an early warning through Dalitso Sailesi’s thunderous shot near the danger zone which was beautifully tamed by United’s keeper, Peter Munthali.
But it was Blantyre United, popularly known as ‘Mphembedzu’, who registered on the score sheet first through their slippery striker Tizgowere Kumwenda.
Their celebration was short-lived after Bullets’ pint-sized striker Mlozi grabbed an equalizer just a minute later.
Before the match, drama ensued when a Bullets team bus got stuck in the mud on the main entrance of the stadium as it tried to enter the stadium.
It took some good minutes for the driver to move the bus but still it could not get through the main gate forcing him to reversing it.
And when the two teams entered the field of play for warm-up, spectators were surprised to see that both sides were wearing similar jerseys- white and red.
However, the referee in-charge of the match ordered Bullets to change their jersey as per Super League of Malawi (SULOM) rules for visiting teams (Blantyre United were playing at home).
Unfortunately, more drama was to ensue when it was learnt that Bullets had only brought a single jersey to the game.
According to SULOM, Bullets registered that they would be using white colour should their traditional red match with the home side they are playing against.
Professor Peter Mutharika Premier Division side, Nchalo United, had to come to the rescue of the Peoples’ team after they borrowed them their green jersey which they eventually used.
But not satisfied with the green colour, Bullets’ officials had to call for their red and white jersey all the way from their base in Blantyre which unfortunately only arrived way into second half of the game.
Their Team Manager, Noel Kawole, tried to plead with the officiating personnel to allow them pause the game so that they change their jersey but they refused to grant them the chance.
Another controversy came when the referee blew the final whistle to mark the end of the game while on the other side the fourth official was about to show the three minutes of added time.
Inside the field, the Peoples’ team played perfectly well on the right flank with veteran Fischer Kondowe making several well-curved crosses which were wasted by their striking force of Heston Munthali and Mlozi which was totally blunt on the day.
On the other side, Blantyre United keeper, formerly of Chinkhwawa United, was a marvel to watch as he frustrated Bullets from getting more goals at will with his well-timed saves.
It was, however, a surprise to many spectators when Munthali’s name missed on the man of the match award sheet.
The moment of happiness for United came in the 34th minute when Kumwenda’s long range kissed the top of the cross bar before landing into the net.
At recess the game was 1-1 and after the break there were no more goals as United controlled possession and looked more dangerous in the first 15 minutes by creating more scoring opportunities through Anthony Banda and Kumwenda as their captain Victor Limbani kept Bullets’ defense under siege.
Bullets’ defense kingpin, George Nyirenda, made a silly mistake as he cleared the ball which landed onto Limbani’s boots, who did not take time but release a roaring shot which forced goalkeeper Vincent Gona to punch before Kumwenda put it into the next through a re-bound.
However, linesman Kelvin Ngulanga saw it from offside position making Blantyre United officials, players and fans breathe with anger for being denied what they thought was a clear goal.
In an interview after the game, Blantyre United Coach, Elijah Kananji, had no kind words for the linesman claiming he describing his action as a day-light robbery.
“We haven’t drawn with Bullets but the referee and his linesmen. I have never heard of a goal scored on a re-bound being ruled out for off-side. If our referees continue favouring big teams then l am sorry our soccer will never develop,” fumed Kananji.
He, however, hailed his troops for fighting tooth and nail during the match.
And Bullets Coach, Gerald Phiri, attributed the draw to the hot Nchalo weather but stressed that it was a missed opportunity for them to climb the ladder further.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :