Northern Region TNM Super League debutants, Chitipa United, gave hope to their followers when they began new life in the league with a goalless draw against the crowd pullers, Nyasa Big Bullets, on Saturday at Mzuzu Stadium.
Referee Misheck Juwa guided the two teams to a one minute silence before kick off in respect to referee Johns Makuwira who passed on and was laid to rest last week.
The two teams settled very early into the game but it was Bullets who attacked more with Chitipa United just absorbing the pressure.
In the 15th minute, Henry Kabichi’s free kick from the left, outside the 18 metre box, was fumbled by goalkeeper Lloyd Munthali but the follow up shot by Bullets was a waste.
In the 23rd minute, Yamikani Fodya’s neat cross from the left found overlapping Pilirani Zonda in the box but his header hit the right 90 degrees angle on the goal posts, much to the dismay of Bullets fans.
The debutants had a fair share of possession as they freely expressed themselves on the ball exchanging passes from one player to another.
The clever footwork of Khumbo Banda, Dan Sibale, Chrinadho Mtambo and Happy Phiri was a marvel to watch only that they were harmless in front of goal.
Bullets’ danger man Muhammad Sulumba, who was ably tamed by the Chitipa United defence, missed a sitter in the 28th minute when he alone in the box, aiming for the far post, completely missed the target.
Three changes were made in succession in the second half by the Bullets tactician Nswazurimo Rhamadan. Muhammad Sulumba paved way for Bright Munthali and Benard Chimaimba went in place of Dalitso Sailesi while Henry Kabichi was rested to give chance to Cathbert Sineta.
Pilirani Zonda’s goal in the 52nd minute was ruled out by referee Misheck Juwa as he first pushed an opponent before heading the ball into the net.
In the 58th minute, a ball that came into Chitipa United’s box from a corner kick was thrice cleared from the goal line both in the air and on the ground denying Bullets a vital goal in their 2017 season opening match.
So 0-0 it ended after 90 minutes plus added time.
Speaking to Nyasa Times after the game, Nswazurimo Rhamadan said his team played very well and dominated play but the debutants also defended well.
“I am satisfied with the way the boys played. We failed to score but it’s something that can be worked on and a draw is a fair result,” explained Rhamadan.
On his part, Chitipa United coach Kondwani Mwalweni said it was a good start to salvage a point against a formidable side like Nyasa Big Bullets.
“We managed to contain them and I think if we work very hard we can stay in the league,” observed Mwalweni.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :