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Opponents Watch: Bullets vs Blue Eagles

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Bullets return to Kamuzu Stadium for another crucial TNM Super League assignment against Blue Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

The People’s Team will face a side currently struggling for results despite finishing the previous season as runners-up.

Before the clash, let’s look at how our next opponents have fared in their first 11 games of the 2023 season…

The Area 30 Police side started the new campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Red Lions. They had their first-half lead through Micium Mhone cancelled by their opponents with a few minutes left on the clock.

Their next assignment was another home game against Silver Strikers at Nankhaka Stadium. They lost 1-0 through Chimwewe Idana’s early strike. The defeat meant Eliah Kananji’s charges were still looking for their first win in the new season.

Blue Eagles then travelled away to face the newly-promoted Bangwe All Stars at Mulanje Park Stadium.

Tonic Viyuyi came to the rescue with a late equalizer to earn his side a point, meaning they dropped four points in two games.

In three games, the Eagles only collected two points.

They returned to Area 30 in search of their first win, which they did over another newly-promoted side, Chitipa United, at their base. Mhone, Viyuwi and Sankhani Mkandawire were all on target to secure their first three points.

Just when they thought they had found the winning formula, Kananji’s men dropped two more points when they drew 2-2 against Dedza Dynamos at Nankhaka. Christopher Gototo and Mhone scored to give them a 2-1 lead, but with less than ten minutes left to play, they conceded.

Unlike the previous season, when they only conceded 11 goals in the entire league campaign, Kananji’s side had already let in six goals at the end of Week 5.

They were the visitors in week six to Kamuzu Barracks. They had an early lead through Lanken Mwale cancelled out by the opposition in the late stages of the match to end 1-1.

The cops recorded another draw a week later when they played out to a 1-1 stalemate against Moyale Barracks at Area 30.

In seven matches, they only had two wins, not a good sign for a side that pushed Bullets to the finishing line in the 2022 title race.

Their third win came in Matchweek 8 when Chikondi Mvula’s lone strike earned them all the points against rookies, Extreme FC, at Nankhaka Stadium.

A 7.9-kilometre trip away from their base was their next trip when they faced Civil Service United at Civo Stadium. Brighton Munthali scored a stunning goal through a freekick from his own half to hand them a 1-0 lead before the break.

But just like how they have been performing in the second half, they conceded again through Binwell Katinji’s goal to share a point apiece with the hosts. This saw Eagles dropping further as the top-four finish slowly started fading.

They made amends in Week 10 of this term when they got the better of Mafco FC away at Chitowe Stadium, beating them 1-0 through a Richard Rapson lone strike that moved them into 6th position.

But the following week, they visited Mzuzu Stadium for another away game against an inform Ekwendeni Hammers where they lost 1-0 courtesy of a first half beautiful goal from a freekick from Blessings Singini to send Blue Eagles into the 8th position.

The Area 30 policemen have 15 points from which they have scored 12 goals and conceded 10.

Their key men

From the goals they have scored this season, Blue Eagles have eight different scorers, but Viyuyi remains their danger man with three goals, seconded by Mhone, who has two.

In 11 matches, the Eagles have only kept two clean sheets against Extreme FC and Mafco FC.

They operate from the wings led by Rapson, who uses his pace to bulldoze his way inside before feeding their frontmen.

However, our opponents, who, despite finishing second on the log last season, had the lowest goal-scoring tally of 39, two above KB who had 37 and finished third in the standings and that’s precisely how they are struggling to convert chances into goals in the current season.

How they have fared against Bullets

They haven’t done well against The People’s Team as they have three wins in the last 18 meetings between the two sides since 2013.

However, Kalisto Pasuwa’s men haven’t beaten Sunday’s opponents at the Kamuzu Stadium since the 2019 season.

In the 2020/21 campaign, they forced us to a goalless draw in the opening match, before another stalemate the following season following a 1-1 draw as we came from behind to salvage a point.

The last time they lost a match at Kamuzu Stadium was in the 2019 season when we hammered them 4-0.

Eagles’ away performance this season

In five away games, they only won once against Mafco FC, recording three draws and one defeat.

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