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What we have learnt from our 4-0 win over Wanderers

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Nyasa Big Bullets produced a phenomenal display to beat city rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers 4-0 in the FDH Bank Cup second semi-final tie played at the Bingu National Stadium on Saturday to set up a final showdown against our junior side, Bullets Reserves, next month.

A first-half goal from Gomezgani Chirwa followed by three second-half strikes from Hassan Kajoke, Anthony Mfune and Babatunde Adepoju summed up Bullets’ blistering counter-attacking football which the visitors could not cope with throughout the match.

After the disappointing back-to-back defeats to Simba SC to exit the CAF Champions League in the first preliminary round, Kalisto Pasuwa’s team responded with a massive Blantyre derby win, their second in the season over their bitter rivals and will surely build confidence throughout the remainder of the season as Bullets eye the FDH Cup and a fourth successive TNM Super League title.

We look at five things we learned from Saturday’s win.

Kalisto Pasuwa has mastered the art of edging Wanderers…

When Wanderers staged a stunning comeback to draw 3-3 in the Super League five weeks ago, they might have thought they were clear favourites going into this semi-final showdown.

From the onset, they moved with confidence and considering Bullets were coming from two back-to-back defeats to the Tanzanian side in the continental club competition, our neighbours clearly underrated a wounded lion and they paid dearly for winning the match on paper than on the field of play.

Pasuwa worked on the mistakes his players did during the previous derby by instructing his defenders to restrict Wanderers from using their wingers to cross the ball inside the box and also advised his players to win every duel whether from set pieces or dead ball situations.

Yesterday, Bullets attacked and defended with caution but also won all the duels, making it very difficult for Wanderers to score or find any goal-scoring opportunity. They score most of their goals from corners, crosses and free kicks. Pasuwa executed his plans very well and indeed Wanderers had no shot at goal in the entire 90 minutes.

Ernest Petro is perfectly suiting the number 10 role…

He has been Bullets’ unsung hero throughout the season and yesterday, he showed exactly why he has Pasuwa’s trust when he produced one of his best performances this season.

The Nomads were confused with how the Petro and Patrick Mwaungulu were exchanging roles and they couldn’t figure it out as to how the attacker was, at times, operating as a winger, with Mwaungulu covering his position.

He dictated play and combined well with Chimwemwe Idana and Frank Willard and when with the ball, he was able to open spaces by allowing Anthony Mfune to expose Wanderers’ defense and this was seen in the first and second goals that Bullets scored.

Petro set up Kajoke to release Mfune who delivered an excellent pass to Gomezgani Chirwa who scored the first goal. He was again involved in the second goal when he fed Mfune to release Kajoke, who outpaced Miracle Gabeya and the defender committed a foul to gift his former side a penalty which the no. 9 converted from the spot to double our lead.

To others, Petro wasn’t a perfect replacement for Mike Mkwate, but his overall performance this season is very impressive and has done what a number 10 is supposed to do in the field of play, thanks to Pasuwa for instilling confidence in the young midfielder.

Chimwemwe Idana still running the show, no sign of stopping…

The 2021 Player of the Season and Best Midfielder remains one of the most consistent players in domestic football. He was all over Wanderers’ midfield yesterday with his pace and the ability to open spaces for his attackers. He tormented Wanderers like nobody’s business. Coupled with his skills and speed, the Nomads couldn’t stop him from showcasing what he has and at times, the only way to stop him was to foul him.

Idana was finding the pockets of spaces to give himself the time on the ball to unleash our pacey attacking trio. We should have been clinical with our chances and punished Wanderers in the first half, but Alex Ngwira looked perplexed, he didn’t know how to combat the threat Bullets brought. When our forward line clicks, they are unplayable and can carve open any team, they are that good. They are young and naïve at times, and they are only going to get better together.

Anthony Mfune is in his best form…

From what we have seen in the past two games he has featured, Anthony Mfune can be unplayable and one of the best forwards in Malawi. When he joined Bullets from Karonga United, he took time to settle down and when he was given a chance to play, he grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

Mfune scored our winning goal against Wanderers in the opening round of the 2022 Super League campaign to secure a 2-1 victory. He scored our second goal against Chitipa United in the quarter-finals of the FDH Bank Cup and netted his first hat-trick with The People’s Team against TN Stars in the 8-0 win over the relegation-threatened side.

And on Saturday, he showed why Pasuwa rates him very highly. The 22-year-old used his strength and skills to torment Gabeya’s led defence. He provided an assist before registering his name on the scoresheet with a beautiful finish. He should have had a hat-trick but twice, Chipuwa saved his shots.

To those who watched Andrew Chikhosi, Muzipase Mwangonde and Green Harawa, Mfune is a replica of those pint-sized strikers who were scoring goals for fun by tormenting the opposition during their playing days. If he maintains his current form, Bullets will get the better of this wunderkind.

Gomezgani Chirwa is just too good…

The wingback was very deadly yesterday and it wasn’t a surprise to see him on the score-sheet when he finished off Mfune’s pass before providing his goal provider with a goal in the second half.

His pace was a thorn in the flesh to Wanderers defenders, who were caught off-guard several times, including Bullets’ third goal in which Chirwa used his pace to win Francisco Mkonda’s poorly timed back pass and the defender rounded off Chipuwa before feeding Mfune, who connected well into an empty net.

He is and has been very instrumental for Pasuwa’s side throughout the season. If there was ever a game that the addition of Chirwa showed how much he contributes to our success this season was the Blantyre derby on Saturday. He was simply one of the best performers in the 4-0 win.

It will be a day to remember for Bullets fans.

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