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Match report: Bullets 0 Yanga 0

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets played out to a goalless draw against Tanzanian champions Young Africans in a friendly match at Bingu National Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

The international friendly game was part of this year’s Malawi Independence Day Celebrations.

Kalisto Pasuwa used several fringe players with goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba and defender Blessings Mpokera as the only regulars in his starting XI.

The match, which was played for 70 minutes, lacked firepower in the first half, where the two teams failed to make any offensive threats at each other.

But the visitors created their first goal-scoring chance in the 11th minute when Moses Aliro’s freekick met Saed Mohamed, who headed over the crossbar for a goal kick.

Bullets’ first shot at goal came in the 18th minute through Kondowe, who made a brilliant run from the far right, but Metacha Mnata stopped his effort.

At the other end, the visitors pressed in search of an opening goal, but they lacked the weapons as they saw every threat to Bullets’ defence well dealt with by Fodya’s led back-four.

Yanga suffered a blow when Dennis Nkane suffered a concussion in the 25th minute following aerial combat with Blessings Mpokera. The midfielder was replaced by Jouma Aboud.

There was nothing much to write for in the half as the teams were able to pass the ball at will but failed to make any strides in the final third, and goalless it ended in the opening period.

In the second half, the hosts were a better side as they forced Mnata into making a double save in succession in the 49th minute.

A long pass from Precious Phiri to Righteous Banda saw the winger firing at goal before being denied by the ‘keeper, who also came to his team’s rescue with a save to prevent Kondowe from scoring from the rebound.

Bullets kept firing from all angles and twice they pressed and twice they failed to find the back of the net.

MacFallen Mgwira had his opportunity to break the deadlock in the 54th minute but he opted for a shot when passing the ball to Kondowe was a better option.

Pasuwa brought in Chinedu Okafor and Thomson Magombo for Kondowe and Singo to try to regain control of the midfield and improve his attacking prowess.

Okafor failed to connect home from Eric Kaonga’s dangerous cross into the box after Yanga’s defence was caught napping in the line of duty.

Crispin Mhagama fired over the crossbar at the other end when he created a shooting space outside the penalty area.

With three minutes added to the clock, Collins Okumu replaced Pasuwa and there was nothing more left for the two teams as the match ended goalless.

Speaking to the media after the match, Pasuwa was impressed with how his players fared but quickly admitted that there is still a lot of work to do to prepare for the forthcoming CAF Champions League.

“A game we wanted to see how we can fair in the CAF Champions League. Remember, we have been trying to build up a team that can compete in the Champions League, but the problem is that we lose three to four players every year. We tried to build, then we lost the players, and we started all over, but we did well.

“We were trying to build from the back and at the same time, attack, we were very solid, hence forcing them to drop into their half. A lesson learnt for our players; transition from the defence to attack because when playing international games, they win the ball and attack through the spaces, something which our opponents failed to do because we were technically good and I hope next time, we will do the homework in terms of offensive wise when in possession and see how we can fair,” he explained.

“It’s not one game in which you can work on mistakes, it’s a process because players can come good today and then disappoint next, so we keep on learning every day to improve.”

Next on the menu for the Malawi champions is a TNM Super League match against Blue Eagles on Sunday at Kamuzu Stadium.

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