Defending TNM Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets expressed serious intentions to take their title defence to the wire, when they overrun Epac 1-0 in a match played at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday, December 11, 2016.
Former Mighty Be Forward Striker Muhammad Sulumba claimed the lone strike that gave the visitors all the three points five minutes into the second half.
The goal brought a huge relief amongst the Bullets’ faithful who came to the stadium in their large numbers, having watched their team go through a rough first half against the notorious Njenjete.
Njenjete controlled the first half, in which they caused a lot of problems in the visitors’ defence but failed to beat Ernest Kakhobwe in between the Bullets’ posts.
After pep talk from the Elia Kananji led technical panel, Bullets came firing from all cylinders in the second half, forcing their hosts on the back foot.
They were rewarded just five minutes into the last half, when Sulumba outpaced a defender on the edge of the 18-yard box before letting go a left footer which beat Epac goal minder Masa Ngozo to his far left.
Shortly after the goal, Bullets rested ineffective winger Dalitso Sailesi for experienced Chiukepo Msowoya.
Epac also made changes, bringing in Chiletso Zoya and Madalitso Longwe for Ranken Mwale and Josophat Kwalira before Bullets replaced injured defender John Lanjesi with towering Maneno Nyoni.
Bullets had a chance to make it two straight midway into the second half but Pilirani Zonda’s intelligently taken free kick hit the upright with goalkeeper Ngozo completely helpless.
Much as Epac tried to come back into contention, Bullets were a more organised side in the second half and gave no more room for the hosts.
Epac mentor conceded defeat after the final whistle, blaming Bullets goal on a lapse of concentration on the part of his defenders.
“Our play was okey and I must give the boys credit for that but there was a lapse in concentration at our defence that led to Bullets’ goal,” said Makonyola.
Bullets team manager described Sulumba’s strike as fitting to the occasion following the loss of the player’s father last week.
“We were in Chiraduru last Tuesday to bury Sulumba’s late father and the player rejoined us just before the Lilongwe trip.”
“His goal might prove vital in our quest to defend the title,” said Ishmael.
With the win Bullets are now second on the log table with 51 points from 27 games, just a point behind leaders Kamuzu Barracks, who have played the same number of games.
Blue Eagles also have 51 from 27 games but fall short on goal difference against the ‘People’s team.’
Silver Strikers, who managed a 1-0 victory away at Moyale are fourth with 50 points from 27 games.
Elsewhere, fifth-placed Mafco were held to a 0-0 draw by relegation threatened Premier Bet Wizzard at Chitowe ground.
The result means Wizzard return to their home base in Blantyre with a point from a possible six points, having succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against Dwangwa United at the same venue yesterday.
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