A second half goal from striker Chiukepo Msowoya gave Nyasa Big Bullets a 1-0 away win over Zomba based soldiers Red Lions in a highly contested and more physical encounter played at the Balaka Stadium on Saturday.
The game was characterised by rough play as well as confrontation both on and off the field of play.
A game of little chances was settled in the 60th minute when Msowoya who was left unmarked in the penalty box headed in a well timed pin pointed outside foot killer pass from Mussa Manyenje.
Both teams started the game on a high note but it was the visiting Bullets who took the first shot on target.
Msowoya took advantage of a loose ball in the 18th minute following a defensive lapse at the back of the Lions but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Brighton Ngwenyama.
The soldiers struggled to contain pressure from Mussa Manyenje who was operating from the left wing and kept on launching a number of solo fierce efforts.
He showed off some incredible footwork and dribbling ability that mesmerised the fans throughout the match and he was undisputedly the fierce man of the day to Red Lions defenders particularly Mpotalinga Saopa who was featured as a right back.
A school boy mistake from Miracle Gabeya who flicked the ball towards his own goal area nearly gave Red Lions the lead in the 28th minute but Thomas Makumba wasted the golden opportunity by shooting the ball completely off target.
Lions and Bullets striked once each in the 37th and 42nd minute through Bonface Kaulesi and Nelson Kangunje but their attempts failed to land at the back of the net.
Kaulesi had his 25 metre tap in missing the target by a whisker following a superb counter attack while Kangunje had his shot denied entry by the goal post with Lions keeper Brighton Ngwenyama already beaten and didn’t move even an inch.
Ugly scenes of violence were witnessed in the open stands just behind Red Lions goal immediately after recess as unidentified supporter stonned Red Lions goalkeeper in the leg.
Play resummed later with Bullets dominating ball possesion powered by the 60th minute goal.
Bullets rested their pint-sized striker Mike Mkwate who seemed to have been out of form and could not match the stamina of Red Lions players and brought in Henry Kabichi.
They also later introduced Kondwani Kumwenda and Muhammed Sulumba who replaced Nelson Kangunje and Msowoya.
Red Lions also made few substitutions including that of Lottie Chawinga in search of an equaliser but to no avail.
After the end of regulation time it ended 1-0 to the satisfaction of Bullets Assistant Coach Elia Kananji.
“As I have already said that we will be taking each game as it comes here we are now…. We have three points in our bag and I am happy with the win and I just say conglatulations to the boys for the job well done” said Kananji in a post-match interview with Nyasa Times.
On his part, Red Lions Assistant Coach Prichard Mwansa conceded the defeat which he described as ‘painful’.
“It is painful that we have lost this game despite playing well more especially in the first half. We made one mistake and our colleagues scored. When we go back we will work on our defending abilities as well as to polish up our striking force so that we should be scoring goals after creating chances” said Mwansa.
With the win, Nyasa Big Bullets now have 34 points but they remain on third position while the soldiers are stuck on position 10 with 20 points.
In other matches played on Saturday, Azam Tigers were held 0-0 by 14th placed Dwangwa United while fourth placed Civil Sporting Club were also held 1-1 by Mzuni FC.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :