June 13, 2024

Malawi bulletin

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Bullets’ winless run continues as Civil hammer Dedza Dynamos for first win

4 min read

By Joe Fresh

FCB Nyasa Big Bullets’ disappointing start to the 2024 season continued on Saturday afternoon as they were forced to a goalless draw by Mighty Tigers to be winless in their opening two games of the new campaign in the TNM Super League.

The 2023 quadruple winners had more than six players ruled out of the game due to illnesses while Maxwell Phodo suffered an injury in their opening game against Dedza Dynamos last week.

From the word go, Bullets struggled to settle down as the hosts failed to unlock a very organized Tigers defence that kept all attackers at bay.

Bullets created their first goal-scoring opportunity in the 5th minute from a set piece, but Ronald Chitiyo shot straight at Lucky Tizola who was very alert between the sticks for the Kanjedza-based outfit.

Tigers launched their first attack in the 21st minute through Precious Chipungu, but his dangerous cross into the penalty box missed every yellow and black shirt as it swerved away for a goalkick.

The hosts should have made a breakthrough after the half-hour mark when Lanjesi Nkhoma did brilliant work to the right flank before finding Chitiyo unmarked inside the penalty box.

But the attacking midfielder saw his goal-bound shot blocked by Alex Kabilinya, and from the rebound, Ernest Petro fired wide to the relief of the opposition side that came under intense pressure from the hosts.

With 31 minutes played, Nkhoma thought he had found the back of the net when he exchanged passes with Precious Sambani, but the winger saw his shot well saved by Tizola for a corner kick which was well defended by the resilient visitors.

At the other end, Richard Chimbamba was called into action in the 36th minute to deny Chipungu from finding the back of the net. The striker created a shooting space before being denied by the shot-stopper.

In the final minutes of the half, Chikumbutso Salima collided with Tizola when he tried to make a first-time connection from Colin Mujuru’s ball into the box. The winger ended up hitting the shot-stopper to sustain an injury which forced Pasuwa to introduce Crispin Mapemba in the second half.

With less than one minute left to play in the half, Chimbamba denied Precious Chiudza from scoring when he stretched Bullets’ defense before firing at goal. But the shot-stopper was very alert to produce a save for yet another corner kick which was defended by Mujuru and that was all for the half.

After the recess, it was the same old story from Bullets; failing to attack with pace, being outnumbered in the midfield, being closed down in the wings, and lack of firepower up front.

Nkhoma came close to finding the back of the net when he received a pass from Petro on the edge of the penalty box, but his shot went wide.

There was more pressing from Bullets in the first five minutes of the final half, but every attacking move was halted by Tigers’s well-organised back-four led by Kabilinya who was very calm in every decision he was making in the defensive zone.

60 minutes on the clock, Mathews Masamba came in for Kajoke to try to add more firepower as Chitiyo was now being used as a false striker while Zikani Munthali came in for Masambero Kalua for the visitors.

Bullets tried to attack from the wings, but the visitors were very solid at the back, winning every ball that was thrown at them to keep on frustrating the hosts who were desperate for the first win of the season.

Sean McBrams was introduced for Chitiyo in the 70th minute to improve the attacking prowess, but the build-up from transition to attack wasn’t effective as none posed more threat to the visiting side.

Tigers had the opportunity to create something out of their set piece which they won closer to Bullets’ penalty box, but Chipungu fired straight at Chimbamba to keep the match at 0-0.

There was one more opportunity left for Bullets in the additional minutes when Mujuru played an excellent freekick into the penalty box to Nkhoma who volleyed past Tizola, but he was denied by the post to sum up what was a bad afternoon for the defending champions and in the end, goalless it ended.

This means Bullets are winless in their first two opening games for the first time since the 2021 season in which they dropped points in the first games of that season.

In other matches, a strike each from Kelvin Kadzinje, Muhammad Biason and Emmanuel Saviel inspired Civil Service United to a comfortable 3-0 win over Dedza Dynamos.

It was Civil’s first league win of the season following their 1-0 defeat away to Mzuzu City Hammers last week. 

As for Dedza, this was their first defeat after they played out to a 1-all draw against Bullets last week.

At Champions Stadium, Kamuzu Barracks and Mafco FC played out to a 1-all draw. Sam Gunda scored for KB while Yohane Malunga leveled in the dying minutes of the half to help Mafco collect a point after they lost 2-1 to Moyale Barracks last week.

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