Nyasa Big Bullets have qualified for the last 16 of the FDH Bank Cup after defeating Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves 5-4 on post-match penalties at Kamuzu Stadium.
The game was decided through spot kicks following a 1-1 draw in regulation time.
Luke Chima gave the senior team an early lead in the 9th minute, but Kesten Simbi equalized for the junior side from the spot just after the half-hour mark.
Kalisto Pasuwa made several changes to the side that won 2-1 in Lilongwe against Civil Sporting in the TNM Super League last weekend.
He rested the likes of Chimwemwe Idana, Richard Chimbamba, Gomezgani Chirwa, Erick Kaonga and Zicco Mkanda as he gave opportunities to Pilirani Zonda, Yamikani Fodya, Alick Lungu, Ben Manyozo, Luke Chima, Rabson Chiyenda, Ernest Petro, Bright Munthali and Stanley Billiat.
The reserve team dominated the proceedings with their one touch style of play but found themselves down early in the game when Chima’s header beat Rahaman John in goals to put the hosts in the lead, 1-0.
The youngsters almost responded with a stunning goal when Billiat lost possession inside the seniors’ half to allow Patrick Mwaungulu shooting space from which he released a rocket outside the penalty box but Chiyenda was on point as he made a fantastic save for a corner kick.
For the next 15 minutes, the ball was in the hands of the reserve team, playing one touch football and created space in the final phase, but unlocking Nickson Nyasulu’s led defence proved too difficult for Enos Chatama’s youthful side.
However, they found the equalizing goal in the 31st minute through a penalty kick following a foul on Frank Mulimanjala by Zonda.
The first attempt was taken by David Daud and it went over the bar, but the referee of the day penalized Fodya for an encroachment and ordered a retake, which was scored by Simbi.
Bullets tried to restore the lead and should have found the goal in the 38th minute, but Bright Munthali’s shot was well blocked by Innocent Msowoya.
At the other end, Alex Tsamba, Mwaungulu and Frank Mlimanjala kept on pressurizing Bullets’ defence but thanks to Chiyenda who came to their rescue with another stunning save, 1-1 it ended in the first-half.
After the recess, Chatama’s side continued from where they stopped, knocking the ball at will as Bullets senior side kept on chasing to at least close them down in the attacking zone.
Mwaungulu was too difficult to mark and should have given the reserve team a lead in the 56th minute, however his curved shot was well blocked by Blessings Mpokera.
Sensing danger, Pasuwa had to make a tripple substitution, introducing Mike Mkwate, Hassan Kajoke and McFallen Mgwira for Lungu, Zonda and Chima.
Munthali and Billiat exchanged passes in the attacking zone to release Petro whose shot missed John’s goal posts with an inch.
The clock was ticking very fast for the main team as they were desperately looking for a winning goal, but Simbi, White Kitsen and Sydney Chabulika stood firm to protect John, who was winning almost every aerial ball landing in his territory.
In the 73rd minute, Munthali had his volley outside the penalty box well saved by John before another miss from Billiat.
In the 81st minute, a brilliant work from Petro released Mgwira who wasted no time by shooting at goal but again, the ball could not find the back of the net as signs of discomfort started trickling down on Pasuwa’s side.
As Pasuwa was preparing to introduce Ernest Kakhobwe and Chiukepo Msowoya in the final five minutes of the match, Mwaungulu almost dumped the main team out of the competition with a brilliant display of football inside the penalty box.
The right winger dribbled past Fodya and Nyasulu before firing at goal, but Chiyenda was very alert as he saved the ball away for a corner, that was really close.
Msowoya and Kakhobwe were introduced for Munthali and Chiyenda whilst Frank Willard came on for Chimwemwe Yasin and 1-1 it ended.
In the shootout, Fodya, Kajoke, Nyasulu, Msowoya and Mkwate scored for Bullets, with only Billiat’s penalty being saved by John, whilst Innocent Msowoya, Kitsen, Mwaungulu and Simbi converted their spot kicks, but Willard and Yamikani Mologeni missed to gift the main team an opportunity into the last 16 of the tournament.