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Match preview: Bullets vs Dedza | FDH Bank Cup

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets return to FDH Bank Cup action as they welcome Dedza Dynamos for the semi-final clash at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Bullets, who reached the last four after cruising past Extreme FC last month, will be seeking victory in this home tie as we look to defend the trophy we won for the first time last year.

The People’s Team will be up against a very resilient side that has performed beyond expectations against the top four teams in the current season.

Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges have to be at their level best to get the better of such a highly-spirited side that has knocked out three Super League teams to reach this level.

Form Guide 

Bullets go into the clash having won three out of their last four games in all competitions, a stretch of results which include the 3-0 aggregate win over Dragon FC in the first preliminary round of the CAF Champions League, a 3-2 hard-fought victory over Civil Service United in the Super League and recently, another hard-fought 1-0 triumph over Mighty Tigers on Thursday.

Even though they lost to TP Mazembe in the second preliminary round first leg match at Bingu National Stadium last Sunday, Bullets will have been buoyed by the outcome of Tigers’ game, a match which was destined for a goalless draw only for the defending champions to score with less than two minutes left to play to go back top of the TNM Super League standings.

The road to the FDH Bank Cup semis

In this competition, Pasuwa’s men started the title defence with a comfortable 4-0 win over Ndirande Stars through Hassan Kajoke’s brace and lone strikes from Patrick Mwaungulu and Maxwell Phodo.

Bullets went on to eliminate Ndirande Stars in the round-of-16 with another comfortable 3-0 victory courtesy of a strike each from Kajoke, Mwaungulu and Nickson Nyasulu to set up a quarterfinal showdown against Extreme away at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.

Against the Mchinji-based side, we were behind through Gregory Mwase’s 20th-minute goal before Ephraim Kondowe came off the bench to grab an equalizer in dying minutes to take the game to penalties from which Bullets won 4-2 to advance to the last four.

With the focus now fixed on advancing to the final and clinching the cup for another year, the Blantyre giants now face a tricky opposition in an outfit that is determined to emulate the giant-killing feats the tournament has been known to dish up over the years.

The men from Dedza managed to come away with all three points on the road in their last league outing as they defeated Silver Strikers 1-0 courtesy of Alex Benson’s second-half strike seven days ago away in Mponela.

In this competition, they are the only side to have played against three Super League teams in all three stages, one of them being Chitipa United, a side that has been outstanding this season in the top-flight league and currently sits third on the log table, a point behind the two top teams Bullets and Wanderers, respectively.

Gilbert Chirwa’s side started their journey with a hard-fought 1-0 victory away to Chitipa in the round-of- 32 courtesy of a first-half strike from Benson to set up a last-16 clash against Ekwendeni Hammers.

A brace from Clement Nyondo and a lone goal from Limbani Phiri sealed the quarter-final place for the Central Region-based side as they hammered their opponents 3-0.

From there, Moyale Barracks was next to play Chirwa’s side at Dedza Stadium.

It was an intriguing quarter-final with the visitors dominating the opening half and being able to make a breakthrough in the 10th minute through Gastin Simkonda.

But the lead was cut short just after the half-hour mark when Phiri scored from the spot to pull the hosts level and set up a penalty shootout that went in favour of the hosts with a memorable 3-2 victory over the Lions of Kaning’ina to book a place in the last-4 against The People’s Team.

Head-to-Head 

It will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams in a knockout competition, but we have faced them three times in the league, beating them 1-0 and 2-1 in the 2022 season before playing out to a 2-2 draw at Kamuzu Stadium in the current season.

Team News

Pasuwa will once again be without several of his key players due to injuries.

Left-back and vice-captain Precious Sambani has a swollen knee and will likely be out for the next few days, while Eric Kaonga will also be assessed having been stretchered off in our win over Tigers on midweek.

Alick Lungu and Peter Banda continue with their rehabilitation ahead of their return to full fitness, but Mike Mkwate and Stanley Billiat are still recovering from their injuries.

The positive news is that Pasuwa will welcome back Clyde Senaji and Precious Phiri, who were not part of the squad against Tigers due to knocks.

What Pasuwa said ahead of the match

“It is a game that is very crucial to us. The only worry that we are having as of now is the injuries that we are getting. These injuries are affecting us in crucial positions where we don’t have replacements. It’s a game that we need to be positive.

“The last time we played them, they gave us a torrid time. We need to do more for us to come up with a win. It’s a cup game where you need to finish off the game, hence the need to be very alert in all the phases of the game.”

How to follow the game

The match will be live on Mpira TV and will be streamed online on FIFA+. You can also catch the updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

Northern Region-based Newton Nyirenda will be in charge of our FDH Bank Cup semi-final tie against Dedza Dynamos at Kamuzu Stadium.

Referee: Newton Nyirenda

Assistant Referee 1: Bernadetta Kwimbira

Assistant Referee 2: Elias Chikoleka

Fourth Official: Rose Zimba

Match Assessor: Bester Kalombo

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