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Match report: Bullets 4-2 Social Socials

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets are through to the last 16 of the Castel Challenge Cup after beating Soche Socials 4-2 at Kamuzu Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Bullets were two-nil up in the opening 15 minutes after Chinedu Okafor and Peter Banda scored two quick goals in the opening period.

What happened 

Kalisto Pasuwa made ten changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Silver Strikers on the final day of the TNM Super League campaign as he only maintained goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba in his starting XI.

The People’s Team started on the front foot and as early as the opening four minutes, Thomson Magombo came close but the midfielder saw his powerful volley hitting the post.

Two minutes later, Bullets broke the deadlock through Okafor, who was released by McFallen Mgwira and the forward pounced to slot the ball past goalkeeper Miles Jafali, 1-0.

With 12 minutes played, Okafor should have doubled his tally, but he failed to connect home a cross from Stanley Billiat, who delivered an excellent ball into the box.

The visitors’ first attempt at goal came after 13 minutes when Grayson Msowoya made a brilliant run before sending a very dangerous cross into the area. But Nickson Nyasulu, who captained the side, made a timely clearance, and from the rebound, Francis Banda fired wide.

We doubled our lead in the 15th minute through Peter Banda, who got the better of Davie Kochanga and released a very powerful shot that caught Jafali off guard before going into the net from the near post, 2-0.

Bullets kept creating chance after chance, with Okafor missing yet another golden opportunity when he failed to finish off a cross from Billiat in the 25th minute.

Nyasulu was next in line to create a chance in the 35th minute. The defender was found unmarked by Banda’s corner kick, but instead of making an easy tap-in, he went for power and blasted his effort over the crossbar from close range.

40 minutes on the clock, Magombo missed a chance when he found himself on the receiving end of Mgwira’s through-ball. The attacking midfielder sent his volley wide when Jafali was already beaten in the line of duty, and that was all for the half.

After the recess, a slow start to the game by the home side allowed the visitors to gain ground as they pressed and kept possession.

A statement of intent was made by the visitors in the 47th minute when Msowoya, who was causing more problems to Eric Kaonga, opened Bullets’ defence before firing off target.

Banda had his long-range shot well saved by Jafali, and in the process, the winger sustained an injury to his troubled shoulder before being replaced by Righteous Banda in the 51st minute.

The non-league side was able to find the back of the net in the 52nd minute through Precious Chadza, who headed home from Msowoya’s cross, beating Chimbamba in his six-yard box, 2-1.

Pasuwa then brought in Hassan Kajoke for Okafor to try to get more goals and manage the game for the remaining minutes as the visitors were now pressing and attacking using their right-hand side where Kaonga had problems managing Msowoya.

The visitors brought in Daniel Motolino for Francis Banda in the 58th minute. Kaonga conceded a foul closer to the penalty box, but Msowoya’s delivery was well-defended by Nyasulu.

After the hour-mark, Billiat nearly registered his name on the scoresheet after he was found by Magombo in the area, unfortunately, the winger saw his goal-bound effort blocked by Jasten Tylos.

In the 68th minute, Kajoke restored the two-goal cushion with a beautiful finish from Billiat’s pass, 3-1.

With a two-goal disadvantage, the visitors introduced Thomas Simbi for Amos Chaminingo to close the gap in the midfield, which was mostly dominated by the hosts through Kenneth Pasuwa and Chawanangwa Gumbo.

Pasuwa made two more changes in the 75th minute when Ephraim Kondowe and Maxwell Phodo came on for Billiat and Magombo before 17-year-old Sharifu Swadiki was introduced six minutes later to make his senior debut as he replaced Chimbamba.

With five minutes left on the clock, Chimwemwe Mberenga tapped in a cross from Msowoya, who, for the fifth time in the match, got the better of Kaonga before delivering a grasscutter into the box, 3-2.

Kondowe should have restored the two-goal advantage, but he failed to beat Jafali in a one-on-one situation.

The match was then completely buried in Bullets’ favour in the 90th minute through Phodo, who made a first-time connection from Banda’s cross, 4-2, and that was all for the match.

What it means

Tuesday’s victory means The People’s Team will be hosting Civil Service United in the round of 16 stage at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.

What Pasuwa said after the match

In his post-match reaction, the Bullets head coach said he was only looking to play the game and proceed to the next phase of the competition.

“A game that we wanted to go through. Remember, we have been travelling a lot and we are trying as much as we can to manage our squad to recover. We brought in fringe players to have playing minutes and even though we struggled with combinations, the good thing is we got the goals and proceeded to the next round,” he explained.

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