Nyasa Big Bullets claimed the first win of the 2020/21 TNM Super League season with a 0-2 victory over Chitipa United away at Karonga Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Coming from a disappointing 0-1 defeat to Karonga United on Saturday, Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa made five changes to the team, handing first starts to Ben Manyozo, Mike Mkwate, Peter Banda, Pilirani Zonda and Hassan Kajoke.
It only took 60 seconds for The People’s Team to break the deadlock in a brilliant fashion.
Chimwemwe Idana combined very well with Mkwate to Kajoke and the Bullets number 9 wasted no time to release a rocket outside the penalty box to beat Musa Katawale in goals for the hosts.
Soon, one became two as Bullets extended the lead through Mkwate in the 12th minute.
A brilliant run from Gomezgani Chirwa, who was deployed on the right in the 1-4-3-3 formation, saw him sending a low cross inside the six-yard box from which Mkwate latched on before slotting past defenseless Katawale.
At the other end, Chitipa United were struggling in attack and failed to break Bullets’ defence, which was being led by Nickson Nyasulu and Manyozo.
However, they nearly pulled a goal back in the 28th minute, but Mathews Sibale failed to connect a cross from Byson Muhammad.
The hosts then pulled out Muhammad and Gibeon Mgoja for Emmanuel Muyira and Kenson Mlenga.
On the stroke of half time, Nyasulu was denied a goal when referee wrongly awarded the hosts a freekick when he thought there was a push on Katawale only to realise later that he collided with his own defender.
Coming from recess, Bullets started the second half on a very low note, opting to sit back in defence of the first half goals.
Chitipa pressed higher in search for a goal and almost succeeded when Sibale headed over the cross bar after he was found unmarked inside the penalty box.
In the 58th minute, Kajoke then combined well with Idana and Chirwa but his final touch let him down as he sent a weaker shot straight into the hands of Katawale.
Pasuwa opted to make a change in the 69th minute by introducing McFallen Mgwira and Henry Kabichi for Mkwate and Banda.
Bullets nearly added a third goal in the 78th minute, however Idana, who received a brilliant pass from Aziz Mwakifuna to force himself into the penalty box, sent a weak shot that was equally saved by Katawale.
Bullets made another change towards the end of the match, pulling out Kajoke for Luke Chima, who had some touches in front of goals but was denied a goal when Bob Longwe in defence for Chitipa United blocked his strike.
The home side pressed forward in the closing stages of the game but were unable to break down the visitors’ defence.
Bullets managed to hold on to their 0-2 lead until the final whistle to claim the first win of the season, having drawn the opener 0-0 against Blue Eagles at home and Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Karonga.
Assistant coach Peter Mponda said he was very impressed with the performance of his players in the wake of Saturday’s defeat.
“Very impressed with the first half performance. The players showed that they play for a big club and they handled the pressure very well after our defeat yesterday,” said Mponda in a post-match interview.
He added: “We should give credit to the boys for being very organized especially in the first half when they defended our two goals to claim our first win.”
The win takes Bullets to fourth position in the table with four points from three games. The People’s Team will next host Red Lions at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.