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Match report: Bullets 1-1 Wanderers (Pen 4-2)

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets have booked a ticket to the inaugural Castel Challenge Cup final following a 4-2 victory on post match penalties at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Patrick Mwaungulu won the first half for The People’s Team and, off the bench, Christopher Kumwembe won the second period for the Nomads to force the semi-final tie into shootouts.

What happened

The fourth and last meeting between the fierce Malawi rivals rolled out with end to end action although Bullets seemed to be the side which carried a true sense of threat when pouring forward.

It had rained heavily for over an hour before the kick off and despite that the turf was utterly drenched, both teams adapted well with the condition by managing to move the ball with precision and right speed.

With his weaker foot, Mwaungulu forced a fingertip save from William Thole with a curling effort in the 15th minute.

After all the knocking, the champions were in front exactly at the half-hour mark through young creative Mwaungulu who was beautifully set up by the under-pressure Maxwell Gasten Phodo to unleash a powerful low strike which took a deflection off a Nomad defender before going past Thole, 1-0 up to the good.

It was turning out to be a busy afternoon for the Nomads goalie who was again called into action when our November Player of the Month, Precious Phiri, took a decent attempt at goal a few minutes later.

Fearing we could quickly run riot, the Nomads gaffer Mark Harrison was then forced to make a first half triple change by introducing Francisco Madinga, Vitumbiko Kumwenda and Christopher Kumwembe, who replaced Misheck Botomani, Vincent Nyangulu and Mphatso Kamanga.

In the aftermath of that shake up, the Nomads then looked like they could bite back and came close when Kumwenda tried to bend the ball past Rabson Chiyenda from outside the box but our net minder was well positioned to punch it away.

For the remainder of the first half we would steadily protect the lead to go for the break one-nil up.

Returning from the interval Pasuwa hoped to see his side continuing with the same efficiency, unfortunately we gave away the lead in the early minutes of the final period.

To get them level in the tie, the Nomads had to rely on substitute Kumwembe, who found himself unmarked in the box to pull out a bicycle kick past Chiyenda after Bullets failed to guard the ball inside the area and it was all square after 50 minutes of pulsating derby.

Looking to find an extra gear that would get us back in front, Pasuwa made a double change by bringing on striker Ephraim Kondowe for Phodo and goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba for the injured Chiyenda.

Towards the end of the tie, both sides looked exhausted with their relentless counter-attacking football and tempo slowed down, perhaps reserving some energy for a final push for a late winner.

With ten minutes to go, Francisco Mkonda should have snatched the winner for the Nomads when he was found unmarked by Gaddie Chirwa’s cross, but Chimbamba’s touch to it destructed the midfielder to make a proper contact for a goal.

Both teams apparently readying up for the shootouts brought on their own specialists for the occasion. While the Nomads introduced their goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa, The People’s Team called upon veteran Yamikani Fodya, who surely is a proven expert for the dead ball.

In the very last minute of the tie, Mkonda threatened to get a late winner again, this time with a powerful shot from outside the area to force a diving save from Chimbamba.

On the other end Bullets looked to win it late with some counter attacks but a third goal of the match wasn’t coming and the tie had to be decided through spotkicks.

For the Nomads, captain Stanley Sanudi and Vitumbiko Kumwenda missed their kicks while Phiri was our hero for scoring the winning kick. 1-1 it finished during normal time, 4-2 it finished on post-match penalties.

What it means

Bullets have now set themselves a cup final against Silver Strikers who beat Bangwe All Stars 2-0 at the Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.

Having already brought two major silverware to our trophy room in this year’s campaign, the champions of Malawi now threaten to repeat a title overhaul.

Apart from going into the Castel Challenge Cup final, Bullets, who have already bagged the FDH Bank Cup and the TNM Super League, will also be looking to get their hands on the Airtel Top 8 trophy.

Next

There is respite for Bullets after Sunday’s derby win as Pasuwa’s men will now be on the road to Lilongwe to face Silver Strikers on Saturday afternoon at the Bingu National Stadium.

After that, Bullets will wrap up the season on 6 January when they find themselves in the Airtel Top 8 final against Silver or Mafco, who meet on Tuesday in the second semi-final tie.

First XI: Chiyenda; Chirwa ©, Nyasulu, Senaji, Phiri; Singo, Petro, Mwaungulu; Billiat, Nkhoma, Phodo.

Used Subs: Chimbamba, Mgwira, Kajoke, Kondowe, Fodya.

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