Match report: Tigers 0-2 Bullets

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Nyasa Big Bullets have their attacking mojo back. The People’s Team swept aside Mighty Tigers with a fantastic 2-0 TNM Super League victory away at Mpira Stadium on Monday to go fifth on the standings.

The result means Bullets have registered back to back wins since the return of the games at the weekend following Saturday’s hammering of Mzuzu Warriors 3-0.

Bullets made five changes to the line up that won on Saturday as Kalisto Pasuwa brought in Nickson Nyasulu, Yamikani Fodya, Chimango Kayira, Luke Chima and Bright Munthali for John Lanjesi, McFallen Mgwira, Meshack Seleman, Zicco Mkanda and Meshack Seleman who dropped to the bench, while Precious Sambani was serving a suspension.

The intentions were clear from the first whistle as Chima found himself in a good position after a brilliant lay-off from Idana but he headed over the cross bar with Christopher Mikuwa already beaten in the line of duty for the hosts.

Moments later, Idana saw his well taken shot outside the penalty box well saved for a corner by the Tigers goalkeeper.

After the half-hour mark, Tigers’ Masiya Manda had his real attempt at goal but Richard Chimbamba was very alert as he saved the situation for the visitors.

Bullets were pressing for a goal, with Idana dictating play in the middle of the park, but twice Munthali could not be clinical enough in front of goal as he drove his efforts wide off Mikuwa’s goal.

In the 39th minute, Idana was brought down on the edge of the 18-yard box from which left-footed Fodya stepped up before unleashing a brilliant shot to beat Mikuwa, who only watched the ball rolling past him to give Bullets a half-time lead.

After the recess, Tigers coach Trevor Kajawa made a triple substitution by introducing Jones Kangumbo, Precious Chiudza and Frank Chikuvenji for Jafali Maunde, Martin Nsewa and Matias Nyirenda.

The hosts came out top in the opening minutes of the half and they almost got level in the 47th minute when Chikaiko Batson’s goal bound shot was blocked for a corner by Nyasulu and Tigers failed to utilize the setpiece.

In the 55th minute, Tigers squandered another glorious opportunity when Batison and Chiudza made their way into the box only to be denied by another fantastic defending from Blessings Mpokera, who was playing his second match following his promotion from the Reserve team.

At the other end of the field, Gomezgani Chirwa almost wrapped the result for the visitors but his shot missed the goal with just an inch following some brilliant work from Idana, who was vibrant for the defending champions.

In the 63rd minute, Pasuwa introduced Mkanda, Seleman and Mgwira for Munthali, Chima and Petro.

Tigers, with their dangerous Batisoni, had another chance in the 70th minute against a run of play, but his shot went straight at Chimbamba.

Bullets made Tigers look ordinary. They took the foot off the gas once they had a lead and they made sure to defend it with everything to frustrate the hosts who were pressing for an equalizer.

It was in the 75th minute when Bullets doubled the lead.

Mgwira, who had another assist on Saturday against Mzuzu Warriors, delivered a good corner kick into the box and was easily tapped in by Mkanda, who scored his third goal in two matches and a fifth in the league this season.

The scoreline should have been increased to three as Idana dribbled past Ivin Mwakapenda and Ganizani Anthony before his shot was tipped over the cross bar by Mikuwa for a corner.

In the last ten minutes, Tigers brought in Fatsani Chilikumtima for Mikuwa whilst Bullets handed Stanley Biliat his first start as he replaced Chirwa.

As Tigers tried to push for a consolation goal, Bullets stood firm and guard the 0-2 victory to collect maximum points and move into fifth position with 18 points from nine games, whilst Tigers are still stuck on position 14 with eight points from ten games.

Bullets head coach Pasuwa said the game could have gone to either side as his team started on a slow pace.

“A good game from both teams. We started slowly and the game could have gone to either side but towards the end of the first half we got the goal and it made our lives easy.

“In terms of play in all phases of the match, they closed us down through the supplying lines but when we came back in the second half, it was better off as the ball was moving faster, circulating it looking for spaces in order to attack more,” he explained during the pre-match interview.

Added Pasuwa: “They were closing our supplying lines every time and we were passing through the sides and we tried to unlock them of which we did through the substitutes.”

On making four changes, the Bullets tactician said: “That’s the kind of a thing I am looking for in players. We need to manage them with caution. We had a pre-season which wasn’t properly done, so we need to manage them in terms of injuries”.

Bullets will this week travel to the central region to face MAFCO FC at Civo Stadium on Saturday.