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Match report: Bullets 2 Dedza 2

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Defending champions FCB Nyasa Big Bullets opened a one-point lead at the top of the TNM Super League standings following a 2-2 draw against Dedza Dynamos at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Kalisto Pasuwa made a single change to the side that won 3-0 against Blue Eagles, with Blessings Mpokera moving into the central midfield in place of Henry Kabichi who was demoted to the bench whilst Kesten Simbi partnered Yamikani Fodya in defence.

What happenedĀ 

The visitors made their intentions known when they pressed for an early goal inside the opening two minutes from two back-to-back corner kicks that nearly caught Bullets’ defence napping in the line of duty.

From there, the hosts took the game to the visitors through Chawanangwa Gumbo who was dictating play in the middle of the park and should have scored in the 6th minute when his shot was well blocked by Lughano Kayira.

Against the run of play, Dedza scored their opening goal in the 9th minute. Clement Nyondo, currently the hottest striker in the league, had his long-range shot well saved by Clever Mkungula for another corner kick from which he scored, capitalizing from the goalkeeping error when the ball was delivered into the box, 0-1.

It was now Bullets chasing for an equalizer, with Dedza sitting deep to defend their slender lead.

The weakest link for Bullets was the failure to keep possession and break into the transition, with every move well-defended by the very organized visitors who gave no space to Hassan Kajoke and his partner in front, Anthony Mfune.

Bullets’ closest chance came in the 45th minute when Kajoke’s effort was fumbled by Donnex Mwakasunga, but Mfune, with the goal wide open, failed to score from the rebound as his shot ballooned over the crossbar, and that was all for the half.

After the recess, Pasuwa brought in MacFallen Mgwira and Precious Phiri for Precious Sambani and Righteous Banda to improve their play compared to how they fared in the opening half.

Bullets found the back of the net brilliantly in the 53rd minute to make it 1-1.

Mgwira’s moment of brilliance saw his volley from the left beating Mwakasunga in the line of duty and into the net, 1-1.

The hosts were now pushing for another goal, and they should have had one in the 57th minute when referee Alfred Kaphamtengo awarded them an indirect freekick, but Fodya sent his attempt over the bar for a goal kick.

Just when the hosts were pressing for a goal, Dedza restored their lead two minutes after the hour-mark through substitute Promise Kamwendo, who came in for Charles Chipala.

A corner kick caught Bullets’ defence off guard, allowing Kamwendo to simply tap the ball into an empty net, 1-2.

Pasuwa brought in Ephraim Kondowe and Yankho Singo for Mfune and Thomson Magombo to try to fix his midfield, which was in shambles.

Kamwendo nearly doubled his tally when Simbi failed to clear a long ball from Justice Chihoma, who found Nyondo to the far right. The striker sent a million-dollar pass to Kamwendo, but he saw his shot cleared before crossing the line.

The People’s Team was awarded a penalty in the 68th minute following a handball incident from which Kajoke stepped up to level, 2-2.

In the 73rd minute, Mgwira made an excellent run to the left before sending a very dangerous cross, but Mwakasunga was equal to the task with a brilliant save.

It was now or never for Bullets, but they had to defend with caution against a side with two dangerous strikers on the field and they nearly caused mayhem when Nyondo fired at goal in the 75th minute but Mkungula came to our rescue with a save.

In the 83rd minute, Kenneth Pasuwa came in for Gumbo, and the newly introduced man nearly gave Bullets a winning goal when his volley outside the 18-yard box was well saved by Mwakasunga.

With four minutes added to the clock, it was now the visitors dominating play and were able to advance into the final third, but they lacked the finishing composure to completely bury the defending champions at their base.

Bullets threw everything up front to force a result out of the game, but the visitors defended to earn a point over a side that has been scoring for fun at Kamuzu Stadium this campaign, and 2-2 it ended.

In his post-match interview, second assistant coach Heston Munthali admitted that Bullets were second best, and to get a point was a plus.

“We didn’t play according to our standards and should have lost the game, but we got a point. Our opponents deserved to win the match because we were failing to keep the ball, and when out of possession, it was also difficult for us to win it back. We will go back to the drawing board to see where we got it wrong before our next fixture,” he commented.

The result means Bullets are top of the standings with 26 points, a point above Silver Strikers, who have two games in hand.

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