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Match report: Bullets 0-0 Tigers

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets remain winless in the TNM Super League following a goalless draw against Mighty Tigers at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The People’s Team went into the tie looking for victory after dropping points in the opening match of the campaign away to Dedza Dynamos last weekend.

It was the first match for Kalisto Pasuwa’s men in their backyard since January 6, but it was a frustrating afternoon for the 2023 quadruple winners, who could not break the visitors.

What happened

Pasuwa had several key players out of the match due to illnesses and injuries, forcing the Zimbabwean to make a lot of changes to the team that drew in Dedza.

Innocent Nyasulu, Clyde Senaji, Blessings Mpokera, Precious Phiri, Lloyd Aaron, Patrick Mwaungulu, Ephraim Kondowe, Anthony Mfune and Babatunde Adepoju were all on the sidelines due to an infection, while Maxwell Phodo has been ruled out for five weeks due to an injury he sustained in our first game of the Super League.

From the word go, the defending champions struggled to settle down as we failed to unlock a very stubborn Tigers defence that kept our attackers led by Hassan Kajoke at bay.

Bullets created the first goal-scoring opportunity in the 5th minute from a set piece, but Ronald Chitiyo shot straight at Lucky Tizola who was very alert between the sticks for the Kanjedza-based outfit.

Tigers launched their first attack in the 21st minute through Precious Chipungu, but his dangerous cross into the penalty area missed every yellow and black shirt as it swerved away for a goal kick.

The hosts should have made a breakthrough after the half-hour mark when Lanjesi Nkhoma did brilliant work to the right flank before finding Chitiyo unmarked inside the penalty box. The attacking midfielder unfortunately saw his goal-bound shot blocked by Alex Kabilinya, and from the rebound, Ernest Petro fired wide.

With 31 minutes played, Nkhoma thought he had found the back of the net when he exchanged passes with Precious Sambani, but the winger saw his attempt stopped by Tizola for a corner kick which the resilient visitors managed to defend.

At the other end, Richard Chimbamba was called into action in the 36th minute to deny Chipungu from finding the back of the net.

In the final minutes of the opening half, Chikumbutso Salima collided with Tizola when he tried to make a first-time connection from Colin Mujuru’s ball into the box.

With less than one minute left to play in the half, Chimbamba denied Precious Chiudza from scoring when he stretched Bullets’ defence before firing at goal, only to be denied by our ‘keeper, who was very alert to produce a save for yet another corner kick which Mujuru defended, and that was all for the half.

After the recess, the injured Salima was replaced by Chrispin Mapemba.

Nkhoma came close when he received a pass from Petro on the edge of the penalty box, but his strike went wide.

There was more pressing from Bullets in the first five minutes of the final half. Still, every attacking move was halted by Tigers’ well-organized back four led by Kabilinya, who was very calm in every decision he made in the defensive zone.

An hour on the clock, Mathews Masamba came on to replace Kajoke as Pasuwa pushed Chitiyo upfront as a false striker. Zikani Munthali came on for Masambero Kalua for the visitors.

Bullets tried to attack from the wings, but the visitors were solid at the back, winning every ball thrown at them to keep on frustrating the hosts, who were desperately looking for the first win of the season.

Sean McBrams Bullets debut

Our 20-year-old new signing was handed his Bullets debut on Saturday afternoon when he came on to replace Chitiyo, who was also having his first match for The People’s Team at Kamuzu Stadium, having received his debut after coming on as a second-half substitute in Dedza last week.

The visitors had the opportunity to create something out of their setpiece which they won closer to Bullets’ penalty box, but Chipungu fired straight at Chimbamba to keep the match at 0-0.

There was one more opportunity left for Bullets in the additional minutes when Mujuru played an excellent freekick into the area to find Nkhoma, unluckily our wing-forward volleyed past Tizola, only to be denied by the post, summing up what was a frustrating afternoon for the defending champions. Goalless it ended.

What it means

Saturday’s stalemate at home against Tigers means the defending champions are winless in the opening two games for the first time since 2021.

What next

Bullets will be on the road again this weekend as we travel up North to face Chitipa United away at Karonga Stadium next Saturday.

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