Tie far from over despite two-goal cushion—Bullets coach Pasuwa

Nyasa Big Bullets fired themselves into a comfortable position ahead of the return home leg with a 2-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea’s Dragon FC with more hope to get past the first preliminary stage of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.

But coach, Kalisto Pasuwa advises his charges not to sit on their laurels, saying the second leg is open: “We need to do more for us to sail through to the next stage.”

Played at Estadio de Malabo the TNM Super League defending champions won the match courtesy of first half brace from Maxwell Phodo.

A report by Bullets Media said Pasuwa picked up a first XI that was more defensive than the usual attacking Bullets, and quotes the coach as saying: “In most cases we were very solid in terms of how we were defending.

“We just wanted to see if they could build up from the back and come to us. We didn’t want to just open up without observing how they were playing, so I advised the boys not to open up before studying how the opposition were playing.”

Bullets coach Karisto Pasuwa at Estadio de Malabo

He added that the Guineans “were a very attack-minded team in the final half but they were not offensive in the first half where we caught them in transition. They also have big bodies, but they struggled against my boys because we were quick in everything.”

“Well done to the boys, they did well. From the onset, we looked for an early goal and we got it. It was a good start to the game as we attacked and got the second goal, which was a plus for us

He congratulated Phodo for delivering at the big stage, saying he is one such player “who can hold on to the ball, has pace and it was just very unfortunate that each time he scored [back in Malawi] the goals were ruled for offsides but am happy that he scored a brace today and we need to encourage him to get the best out of him.”

The Bullets indeed need to be wary of their second leg at home. In the 2015 edition, the Bullets won 1-0 away to Fomboni FC of the Comoros before drawing 2-2 at home but qualified for the next stage where they lost 0-4 away to Al Hilal of Egypt and drawing 1-1 at home.

In 2018, their first travelled to Kenya where they lost 0-1 before winning 1-0 at home but bowed out after penalties they lost 3-4.

In 2019, they were up against Platinum FC of Zimbabwe with whom they drew 0-0 at home and lost 2-3 away. In the 2020/21 edition against Amazulu of South Africa, they lost 0-1 away and 1-3 at home.

In last year’s campaign, they lost 0-4 — at 0-2 in each leg starting at home.

The action of the first leg

In other CAF Champions League matches, two-time champions Enyimba of Nigeria were defeated 3-4 by Libyan club Ahli Benghazi, while former champions Orlando Pirates are off to a great start with a vital 1-0 away win over Djabal FC of the Comoros.

Former champions Orlando Pirates’ return to the CAF Champions League got off to a great start with a vital 1-0 away win over Djabal FC in the Comoros.

The Buccaneers, who are known to enjoy good runs in CAF Inter-Club competitions, return to Africa’s premier club competition after missing out last season.

Champions in 1995 and runners-up in 2013, the South Africans got their campaign off to a good start with a narrow victory over the islanders, a side they met at the same stage of the competition in 2013 where they cruised past them with a 9-0 aggregate.

Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana beat Uganda’s Vipers FC 2-0 while Ghana’s Medeama Sporting Club secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Nigeria’s Remo Stars, with Morocco’s AS FAR having had to work overtime for their 1-0 away win over a resilient ASKO Kara in Togo.

Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto managed a slender 1-0 victory over Congolese giants, AS Vita while in Benin, nothing could separate Coton Sport and Cote d’Ivoire’s Asec Mimosas as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw — with the same result in Guinea as hosts, Hafia were held to a 0-0 draw by Generation Foot of Senegal.

Congo’s Otoho FC could not capitalize on home ground advantage as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sudanese side, Al Merrikh who will go into the second leg with the slight advantage.

In Mali, Real Bamako of were unlucky not to go get a victory at home after an evenly balanced encounter with Coton Sport de Garoua of Cameroon concluded in a 0-0 stalemate.

In Sierra Leone, Bo Rangers played out to a 1-1 draw against Liberia’s LISCR FC, while Rwanda’s APR were also held to the exact same scoreline at home against Somali’s Gaadiidka FC.—Additional info from CAFonline.

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