A first half brace from Peter Banda and another strike from Zicco Mkanda inspired Nyasa Big Bullets to a 3-1 victory over Kamuzu Barracks in a TNM Super League match played behind closed doors at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After a week’s break due to Covid-19 cases in Bullets’ camp, the defending champions returned to the field of play and wasted no time by putting the Lilongwe-based soldiers to the sword with an early goal.
Coach Kalisto Pasuwa made three changes to the side that beat Moyale Barracks 5-1, with Hassan Kajoke returning to the first eleven whilst Ernest Petro and Rabson Chiyenda were given their first starts this season.
Banda, who was playing his final match before departing for a month-long trial at FC Sherriff Tiraspol of Moldova, scored a stunning goal from a free kick in the 8th minute.
Referee Gift Chicco awarded the free kick just outside the penalty area after the KB’s goalkeeper left his line to clear a ball with his palms outside the box and the attacker stepped forward to convert the setpiece.
Bullets had another chance in the 16th minute when Hassan Kajoke was found unmarked inside visitors’ half, but the forward opted to feed Chimwemwe Idana, but the central midfielder failed to make a connection home.
Kajoke was causing havoc on the soldiers’ defence, however the Bullets number 9 was not clinical enough to put the ball inside the net as he wasted another opportunity with his volley from outside the 18-yard box going wide.
The home side was forced to make a change in the 30th minute when Meshack Selemani suffered a head injury and he was replaced by Mkanda, forcing Kajoke to be operating from the right wing.
The People’s Team almost doubled their tally in the 35th minute when Kajoke and Aziz Mwakifuna combined to find Idana whose tap in hit the upright before it was cleared out of danger for a corner kick, which was easily cleared by Vincent Mphepo.
At the other end, Chiyenda almost conceded a goal when he failed to communicate with Miracle Gabeya but he was lucky as there was no Kamuzu Barracks player to capitalize on the mistake.
In the 40th minute, Banda completed his brace in a brilliant fashion. A diagonal excellent pass from Idana found Banda in the penalty box who made no mistake by releasing a grasscutter to the bottom corner to the delight of Pasuwa’s led technical panel, 2-0.
In the 45th minute, it was 3-0. Banda again with a brilliant run from the left flank saw his low cross drive finding Mkanda, who made a simple finish to beat the defenseless Jere.
In the second half, the visitors regrouped and had more ball possession inside the opening minutes than the hosts, who were more defensive to protect their three goals.
The visitors took the game to Bullets in the final half, and at times, the home side struggled to deal with Gregory Nachipo, who came pressing in search for a goal but Bullets’ defence was too strong to unlock.
In the 63rd minute, Sammy Chiponda and Tinkhane Nyirenda replaced Ndaona Daisi and Zeliat Nkhoma as they tried to push for a consolation goal.
Kelvin Hanganda had a chance to reduce the arrears, but the attacker skied his attempt despite being afforded space and time to test Chiyenda.
Bullets created their first opportunity of the final half in the 64th minute when Kajoke and Mwakifuna combined again to find Mkanda who could only manage to fire his shot straight at Jere.
Pasuwa made a double substitution in the 65th minute by introducing Bright Munthali and Pilirani Zonda for Kajoke and Petro.
Banda had a chance to score his first ever hat-trick for The People’s Team, but his goal bound shot was deflected off for a corner when he was found unmarked by Idana.
Banda was at it again, his ability to take on defenders almost paid off when he and Idana came around quite nicely before releasing Mkanda, whose first touch betrayed him as he allowed Chibvunde to make a clearance.
In the 76th minute, the visitors brought in Harvey Nkacha for Hanganda whilst Idana and Gomezgani Chirwa paved the way for Chimango Kayira and John Lanjesi.
KB pulled one back in the 80th minute through Nachipo who outsmarted Nickson Nyasulu in the air to head into the far left corner of Chiyenda’s goal.
Despite pushing for another goal, Bullets stood firm to collect all the points and moved into the eighth position with 11 points from six games.
The defeat, second in a row for the soldiers, sees them dropping into 12th position, with six points from seven games.
Pasuwa said he was delighted with the result, but was somehow not happy with how his side missed several goal scoring opportunities.
“We are happy with the result, but we should have scored more goals than what we have. We created lots of goal scoring opportunities but ended up scoring only three. We will go back to the drawing board and work on our finishing,” said the coach in a post-match interview.
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