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Match report: Bullets 2-0 Lipulumundu

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets strolled into the last 32 of the Castel Challenge Cup following a 2-0 victory over Lipulumundu Stars at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

The People’s Team needed second-half goals from Thomson Magombo and substitute Chawanangwa Gumbo to go past the non-league side in the round of 64.

Kalisto Pasuwa rested most of his regular players for the midweek fixture, perhaps keeping them for the upcoming Blantyre derby against rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on Sunday.

What happened

Bullets had plenty of goal-scoring chances, especially in the first half, but making a breakthrough proved futile as the second division side defended with everything to frustrate the hosts.

The first serious attempt at the goal for Bullets arrived in the 14th minute when Magombo fired only to be denied by Richard Mtekateka, who fumbled the ball for a corner kick, which the hosts wasted.

Moments later, Magombo was set through by Yankho Singo’s long ball from our half, but despite being in a one-on-one situation with the shot-stopper, the midfielder failed to slot the ball into the net as Mtekateka came out top with a good save.

With 23 minutes played, Hassan Kajoke failed to score on two successive occasions when he was found unmarked by Anthony Mfune and Peter Banda, signifying a frustrating afternoon for the forward who was struggling to make any meaningful impact in the game.

Banda was set through by Mfune soon after the half-hour mark, and the winger did everything right, but his left-foot effort went wide when Mtekateka was already beaten in the line of duty.

The hosts were awarded a free kick closer to Lipulumundu’s penalty box, however, McFallen Mgwira’s decision to play it short to Eric Kaonga backfired as the visitors dealt with the threat the moment the ball was delivered into the area.

At the other end, the only attempt at goal by the visitors came in the 37th minute when Patrick Amanzy fired straight at Rabson Chiyenda, who wasn’t troubled throughout the match.

Bullets had their two final chances in the last minutes of the opening period, but they couldn’t produce anything out of the many chances created in the half, and the two teams went to recess at 0-0.

Come the second half, Pasuwa brought in Precious Phiri and Chinedu Okafor for Kenneth Pasuwa and Kajoke.

Immediately after his introduction, Okafor hit the upright when he was set up by Mgwira, who was now operating from the right flank as Phiri took the right back position.

Bullets kept on pressing and should have had a goal when Okafor placed himself in a shooting range, but the Nigerian mistimed his shot, which was blocked by Abeck Dision.

Alick Mailosi replaced Nema Jangia for the visitors, who were just sitting at the back to defend every ball thrown at them by the hosts.

Kaonga was next to be denied by Mtekateka who produced another astonishing save to stop the left-back’s volley from outside the 18-yard area.

However, Lipulumundu’s resilience was finally put to a halt in the 66th minute when Mgwira made a sprinted run before picking Magombo inside the six-yard area to pounce from close range and this time Mtekateka could not do anything to stop the ball, 1-0.

Immediately after the deadlock was broken, Peter Banda and Magombo were replaced by Lanjesi Nkhoma and Gumbo for the hosts while Ramzy John came in for Ballack White.

At this moment, Bullets just kept on knocking the ball around, creating spaces and threatening the visitors who barely moved into the other half, apart from a single occasion in which Hassan Rajab produced a weaker shot that was easily dealt with by Chiyenda.

Pasuwa made another change when he brought in Righteous Banda for Anthony Mfune as he looked to improve the attacking prowess and find another goal, which Bullets nearly got through Gumbo but the midfielder had to see his goal-bound effort deflected off target.

It was in the 85th minute when Gumbo doubled our lead through a volley from 25 yards, hitting the woodwork before swerving into the far side of the net, 2-0.

There were late introductions by the visitors who brought on Gift Kapolo and Chikondano Njalali for Amanzy and Johny.

Bullets held on to record a 2-0 win and proceed to the last 32 and will face Soche Socials at the same venue.

Pasuwa’s reaction

“[It was] definitely a very difficult match against an unfamiliar opponent. The biggest challenge that we have is to manage the injuries and the tiredness of the players. So, we wanted the players to recover by doing the job early, something that didn’t work in the first half, hence changing the team in the second half,” he explained in his post-match reaction.

“It’s all about intensity. We played a team that didn’t even attack our goal, but it was us creating and missing chances. We need to sharpen up our boots for us to be creative in front of goals and use the right techniques for [scoring] goals,” he commented on Bullets creating a lot of chances but failing to convert them into goals.

What next

Bullets will now switch focus to Sunday’s highly-anticipated Blantyre derby against rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers in the TNM Super League at Kamuzu Stadium.

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