Alick Lungu and Lanjesi Nkhoma scored a brace each as FCB Nyasa Big Bullets recorded an emphatic 4-0 win over Mafco in the TNM Super League at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The result sent The People’s Team second in the early league standings, two points behind leaders Mighty Mukuru Wanderers.
A tie well balanced and tactically tight, the match on a sunny Sunday in Blantyre deserved that description but only for the first opening 10 minutes.
With the game unfolding, the champions reminded everyone that they have been in their own class by showing sheer dominance over the only team that managed to beat them in the league last season.
As the visitors were making themselves feel at home by claiming most of the ball possession early in the tie, The People’s Team dealt them a stinging blow through Alick Lungu to put us in front.
The left-back, who has been in fine form since the start of this campaign, ran with the ball into the final third and when none of his teammates gave options, he unleashed a delicious strike of which Blessings Kameza could only make way for it to find the back of the net, 1-0.
Having the lead first in the tie did not however stop the military outfit from taking the game to us. Towards the end of the opening half, they asked our defence a lot of questions and almost levelled things up but were denied by a top-notch save from goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba who was also wearing the captain’s armband on the day.
After 45 minutes of football, the two teams were only separated by Lungu’s strike in the 12th minute.
The visitors started the second half looking for a comeback but again and again were thwarted in their attempts by a resilient Bullets defence.
To make their lead safe and allow themselves breathing space, Maule then intensified the hunt for the second goal. Following a handball incident in the opposition box seven minutes into the second half, Nkhoma converted from the spot with super calmness to open his account on the day, 2-0.
Mafco might have gone two-nil down but they were yet to put their hands up in surrender. The military side had the ball past Chimbamba but saw their celebrations nipped in the bud after their goal from a set-piece was cancelled out for offside by the centre referee Gift Chicco.
Taken aback by our lapse in defence, we reacted quickly and rightly as Patrick Mwaungulu and Nkhoma combined slickly with one-touch football down the right by-line before dispatching a dangerous ball into the box.
The soldiers cleared the threat but the ball fell kindly in the path of Lungu who with no second thought volleyed it with a lot of power behind it. Kameza thought he had grabbed the volley but the ball escaped violently from his hands and even went on to smash the back of the net and the left-back made it 3-0.
Mafco was the only team to register a league defeat against us last season and on Sunday they were feared to cause us another upset but going three-nil down seemed to be something impossible for them to overturn.
Their misery on the day could only be compounded by our fourth strike which came through Nkhoma after being set up by a brilliant Maxwell Phodo back-heel around the area’s arch.
With the champions in their free-scoring mood, Pasuwa, who finds himself eyeing a fifth title in five years at Bullets, made wholesome changes.
Righteous Banda, Ephraim Kondowe, Collins Okumu, Chawanangwa Gumbo and Stanley Billiat replaced Mike Mkwate, Mwaungulu, Simbi, Petro and Phodo. The substitutes went on to continue creating a lot of chances but could only maintain the 4-0 scoreline until the full-time whistle.
What it means
The result leaves The People’s Team with four points in the opening two games. Early in this campaign, we have now moved up to the second position, two points from log table leaders Mighty Mukuru Wanderers.
With today’s performance, the champions reminded everyone that, despite losing a good number of last season’s key players, they are still a side that teams will fear to face especially at home.
Mafco wasn’t that bad but Bullets proved to be just too good on the day, you could be multiplying the 4-0 scoreline by two or three had our forwards been a bit more ruthless.
Today’s win also means that Bullets have gone 19 months without tasting a defeat at home in domestic competitions.
The last time we suffered a home defeat was back on 26 September 2021 when we lost 0-1 to our odd foes Wanderers in the league.
Man of the match
After putting up a fine display last week against Silver Strikers, Lungu was a standout performer on Sunday afternoon as well.
Not being awarded the MOTM award at the Bingu National Stadium last week has divided opinion. Against Mafco, Lungu made sure that he shared the spotlight with no one but himself.
In the absence of vice-captain Precious Sambani, Lungu has boldly stepped up to make the champions feel not lacking down on the left side of the defence.
With two world-class goals and quite a composed performance, Lungu surely was the deserving MOTM award winner. Not to take away the shine from Nkhoma, who also had a brace, Lungu was simply outstanding.
For a player who had been struggling for game time last season to be playing with appeasing composure and efficiency now makes a good sight.
When Lungu scored his second he was seen running to his coach and his mates, a scene revealing how great it means to the wingback for him to finally be able to find his form again.
Should he continue with his performances, certainly Lungu is braced for a great season.
After Sunday afternoon’s perfect performance, Maule will be back on the road to Lilongwe this weekend to face rookies Extreme FC.