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Match preview: Tigers vs Bullets

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets will wrap up the first round of this TNM Super League campaign with an away fixture to Mighty Tigers this afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium.

It’s the first game of the three matches The People’s Team will play within the next eight days, with the FDH Bank Cup quarterfinal tie against Extreme FC scheduled for Saturday at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.

From there, Kalisto Pasuwa’s men will proceed to Dwangwa in Nkhota Kota for a league fixture against Mafco FC in the first match of the second round as there will be no midseason break.

It’s an exciting week for Bullets, who are on the verge of finishing the first round on top of the league for the second straight season should they defeat the struggling Tigers, who are second from the bottom of the table.

Bullets are currently top of the standings with 29 points, sharing the same number of points with second-placed Chitipa United but separated by the number of goals scored as the Northern Region side has completed its 15 games in the opening half of the season.

At this stage last season, Bullets had 39 points going into the final first-round fixture against Sable Farming, which they eventually won to finish with 41 points, eleven points above the second-placed Blue Eagles in 2022.

Despite being clear favourites against the Kau Kau boys, Pasuwa’s charges will have to be at their level best to overcome a side currently struggling for points and don’t surrender easily against the defending champions.

Form Guide

Bullets were back to their level best at Kamuzu Stadium when they beat Karonga United 2-0 on Saturday to move to the top of the summit with 29 points.

It was a match that was played days after Pasuwa’s men progressed to the last eight of the FDH Bank Cup, eliminating Balaka FC with a 3-0 victory away at Balaka Stadium.

In the ongoing season, the defending champions have found it easy as they have, for the first time since last season, registered more draws in the first round than they did in the entire first round of the 2022 campaign.

Last season, Bullets never dropped points at home as they registered 13 wins and two draws away to Blue Eagles and Karonga United.

But in the ongoing campaign, Maule have already registered five draws and one defeat, dropping 13 points.

Bullets will be looking to finish the first round on a high note before travelling to kickstart the second round against Mafco FC in seven days.

As for this afternoon’s opponents, they were held to a goalless draw at home by the Eagles.

In the 14 games played, Tigers have only earned 13 points, sitting in the 15th position and they will also be eager to move out of the drop zone to avoid a repeat of what happened last season when they survived relegation with less than three games left to play.

They will be determined to finish the opening half of the season on a positive note, and beating Bullets would put the icing on the cake and ensure an exciting end to the opening 15 games in the Super League.

Tigers’ home form

Kau Kau have played seven games from which they have only won once, drawing three times and losing three times. They have scored seven goals against ten they have conceded.

They have collected six points from the possible 21 in their home fixtures.

Bullets’ away form

Unlike last season when The People’s Team collected 31 points from the possible 42 from all away assignments, Pasuwa’s side has not done well in the current season, collecting ten points from the possible 21, winning twice, drawing four times and registering one defeat.

Head-to-Head

Over the last decade Bullets and Mighty Tigers have faced 26 times in the Super League, with The People’s Team winning the majority of the encounters.

Since 2009, The People’s Team has registered 17 wins, ending up on the losing side just two times, drawing seven times while scoring 43 goals and conceding 15 against Kau Kau.

The highest-scoring victory over Tigers came in the first round of last season when Pasuwa’s men showed no mercy by putting five goals past Trevor Kajawa’s side.

Tigers’ last win over Bullets was in November 2011 when we suffered a 3-0 defeat in the Super League, but since then they have danced to the tune of the log leaders.

Summary of results

Tigers’ wins: 2

Bullets’ wins: 17

Draws: 2

Total Tigers goals scored: 15

Total Bullets goals scored: 43

Tigers’ biggest win over Bullets: (3-0 in 2011)

Bullets’ biggest win over Tigers: 5-0 (2022 season)

Team News

Pasuwa will be without several key players due to injuries. Midfielders Ernest Petro, Mike Mkwate and Stanley Billiat as well as defender Alick Lungu, are all out of this match.

Petro started his rehab ahead of his return to full fitness following his injury during the Blantyre derby early last month, whilst Billiat suffered a knee injury during training ahead of the game against Karonga.

Lungu pulled his muscle and will need an MRI scan to determine the extent of his injury whilst Mkwate is still recovering from a tibiofibular fracture to his right leg suffered during the Castel Challenge Cup launch match against Silver Strikers in June.

What Pasuwa said ahead of the match

“We have been winning games against Tigers but mostly through set pieces. It’s a team that gives us a torrid time. We expect a good game against them because they play with structure. We don’t need to underrate them. They can do wonders,” he told club media on Tuesday.

How to follow the game

The match will be live on Mpira TV and online it will be streamed on FIFA+. You can also catch the updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

Gift Chicco returns as the centre referee in our TNM Super League fixture as we face Mighty Tigers at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon.

Referee: Gift Chicco

Assistant Referee 1: Benadetta Kwimbira

Assistant Referee 2: Zagallo Chimbulumata

Fourth Official: Keston Mnenula

Match Assessor: Jones Chimeza

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