Big Bullets squeezed into the semi-finals of the Carlsberg Cup thanks to a last-gasp winner from James Chilapondwa in a pulsating match played on Wednesday at the spacious Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
With the 2-1 win, the Peoples team booked themselves a semi-finals date with their rivals Mighty Wanderers, who ousted Mafco Fc in Balaka after penalties.
After losing to Blantyre United on Sunday in the league, wounded Tigers came to vent anger on the Bullets putting up a gallant fight as they were first to knock on Bullets goals through Frazer Menyani, who unleashed a power packed shot leaving Vincent Gona helpless.
Tigers goal forced ganyu supporters to chant, “ Ayamba kale kunjenjemera.”
Instead of responding positively, Big Bullets was a dis-jointed team from defence, midfield and upfront.
With the absence of Sankhani ‘Mkango Plus’ Mkandawire, who is nursing an injury, the Peoples teams defence which was comprised of Bashir Maunde, Pililani Zonda and Yamikani Fodya was not impressive as they allowed Tigers strikers to terrorize them any time they wished.
Bullets also struggled a lot on the midfield, where their captain Henry Kabichi failed to tick as he kept misplacing balls and shooting wide.
However, Tigers despite missing the services of their midfield maestro, Malumbo Gondwe, who was serving two yellow cards had on duty Isaac Kaliati, who was a marvel to watch.
In the second-half Tigers continued to guard their goal jealously with James Sangala leading the youngsters.
The issue of Juju, however resurfaced in this half, when Big Bullets thought the Kau-Kau boys goalkeeper’s bottle which was kept inside the net prevented them to secure goals.
Some Bullets supporters could be heard outside the pitch advising their players to remove the bottle and throw it away.
It had to take the courage of striker Diverson Mlozi to remove the bottle , which contained drinking water.
Mlozi threw the bottle away behind the goal before another supporter, in full view of the security personnel’s came to take it away from the stadium.
Towards the end of the second half, Bullets fought hard on Tigers to the delight of their supporters, who turned the Biafra stands into a temple chanting gospel music like, “Mbuye menyereni nkhondo pandekha sindingathe kulimbana ndi satana.”
True to their request from God, Mussa Manyenje scored an equalizer sending the whole stand into frenzy joy chanting, “ Sife koma Mussa.”
It was James Chilapondwa, who paid the red army supporters right at the death when he released a thunderbolt sending Nenani Juwawo on the wrong side.
At this moment, Bullets fans started chanting: ‘Sitifuna Tigers, timafuna Noma!’ as they counted seconds before the final whistle was blown to mark the end of the game.
But all that was nothing compared to what was outside the stadium after the game.
The joyful fans caused traffic jams along the Makata road leading to Bullets base in the populous Ndirande township as they moved in snail’s pace chanting, “ Bullets ndikumadzulo.”
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