Nyasa Big Bullets wasted an opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the TNM Super League after dropping points with a 1-1 draw against MAFCO FC at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The People’s Team went into the match straight from their CAF Champions League exit at the hands of South African AmaZulu FC on Saturday and were hoping to bounce back against MAFCO.
Kalisto Pasuwa made several changes to the squad that lost at the weekend, with Precious Phiri, Blessings Mpokera, Yamikani Fodya and Zicco Mkanda all in the starting eleven.
It wasn’t a pleasant start from the hosts as they struggled to find their rhythm and the only realistic chance came in the 8th minute when Bright Munthali’s shot came off the upright.
At the other end of the field, Bullets conceded a corner in the 9th minute which was headed into goal by Stain Malata, 0-1.
One should have turned into two as Kalisto Kalinda positioned himself inside the six-yard box, but the winger misjudged a cross from the right to waste a clear-cut opportunity to extend the visitors’ lead with the goal wide open.
Bullets were level in the 35th minute through Babatunde Adepoju, who netted against the run of play to guide the ball with his chest from Hassan Kajoke cross. This was the Nigerian’s first goal after being handed his league debut for Bullets two months after moving from Mighty Wanderers.
Kajoke was causing havoc and nearly scored in the 38th minute, but his powerful shot was well saved by Jailosi Kapalamula for a corner, which had no impact as it was cleared by Yohane Malunga.
The hosts kept on pressing for another goal and should have found one in the 42nd minute, however Mkanda’s shot went wide off Kapalamula’s goal.
After recess, Bullets were dominant but to unlock Paul Ndlovu’s led defence proved too futile.
The visitors made a double substitution in the 52nd minute when Walusungu Mpata and Paul Phiri replaced Kalinda and Malata.
There was nothing tangible from the two teams, with play being delayed by several minutes due to injuries from the visiting team.
As the clock was fast ticking against Bullets, Pasuwa brought in Meshack Selemani and McFallen Mgwira for Babatunde and Phiri as the home team wanted to increase their attacking options.
Chances were few, delays were many and the clock kept on ticking very fast as Bullets’ hope of snatching all the points were kept in limbo by the resilient Salima-based military side.
In the 75th minute, Selemani conceded a free kick in a very dangerous position and it took Richard Chimbamba’s excellent timing to save the situation for The People’s Team.
Pasuwa made another change in the 79th minute when he brought in Chiukepo Msowoya for Mkanda, but the substitution seemed too late as the visitors kept wasting more time through their delaying tactics to salvage a point away, a blow to the defending champions who wanted to extend their lead further going into the final three matches of the season.
The result sees Bullets still leading the standings with 56 points from 27 games, a point above second placed Silver Strikers, who collected full points from their 28th league match on Wednesday afternoon, defeating Ntopwa FC 3-0 at home.
Bullets’ next fixture is against Wanderers on Sunday at the same venue. The Nomads, who are third with 48 points from 26 games, were 1-0 winners over Mighty Tigers away at Mpira Stadium on Wednesday.