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Match report: Bullets 3-0 Civil Service Utd

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets successfully booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Castel Challenge Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Civil Service United at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It was not an easy tie for The People’s Team, but we had to cruise past a side that ended our unbeaten home run in the Airtel Top 8 in October through Lanjesi Nkhoma, Maxwell Phodo and Hassan Kajoke’s delightful goals.

What happened 

From the onset, Bullets knew that they were facing a high-pressing side which boasts quality in the midfield through Lloyd Aaron and Moses Banda and scoring an early goal was the only option to minimize their attacking threat.

Ten minutes into the half, Lanjesi Nkhoma got the better of Boston Kabango and created shooting space right on the edge of the penalty box. The winger released a thunderous shot that was well saved by Lumbani Chitete for a corner kick, which was wasted by the hosts.

Soon after regaining possession, the visitors launched a counter-attack through Chikaiko Batison, who delivered a very dangerous cross into the box to find Aaron but the midfielder failed to connect from close range.

Batison and Muhammad Biyason were causing so many problems for Bullets’ defence, but Binwell Katinji was very wasteful in the final third as he kept on missing chance after chance.

Bullets broke the deadlock in the 19th minute when Nkhoma again dribbled past Kabango and Kelvin Kadzinje before releasing a powerful strike outside the penalty area, beating Chitete into the back of the net. He was assisted by Maxwell Phodo.

Moments later, Nkhoma was at it again. This time around, he set up Stanley Billiat, who was clear on sight with the goal, unfortunately, the midfielder blasted his effort over the crossbar with the goal wide open.

The visitors were very offensive when attacking, but porous in defence as they couldn’t handle Bullets’ attacking wingers who were pressing from counterattacks, but Ernest Petro and Billiat missed clear-cut chances inside the area.

37 minutes played on the clock, Batison wasted Civil’s closest chance when he was found unmarked by Aaron and with Richard Chimbamba already out of his goal area, the winger, instead of volleying past the shot-stopper, took time to strike and allowed Bullets to regroup. Katinji followed up, but he fired wide.

Three minutes later, Clyde Senaji lost possession to Katinji in his defensive area, but the forward was denied by Chimbamba who was quick to come out of his line and deny the forward as he conceded a corner kick, which was cleared out of danger by Gomezgani Chirwa. That was all for the opening half, 1-0.

After the recess, Abbas Makawa’s men kept on controlling the midfield through Banda, and Aaron, but every ball thrown into Bullets’ half was well dealt with by Senaji’s led back-four to maintain their slender lead.

Bullets remained very dangerous on counterattacks as Ephraim Kondowe and Phodo had several shots at goal early in the final period.

The next ten minutes saw the visitors knocking at Bullets’ door through two back-to-back corner kicks, but defensively, the hosts looked more organized than their previous matches in which they would concede from set pieces.

Makawa added more firepower when he brought in Innocent Tanganyika and Patrick Phiri for Batison and Biyason in the 62nd minute.

But it was the home side that doubled their lead in a very brilliant fashion. The visitors won a corner kick, which was well defended by Chirwa and the wingback quickly found Nkhoma inside his half.

The winger used his pace to take down three Civil players before brilliantly exchanging passes with Phodo, who advanced into the six-yard box to volley past Chitete into the bottom corner, 2-0.

The second goal came at a time when the hosts were under immense pressure and needed to double the advantage to ease the pressure from the visitors.

In the 70th minute, Pasuwa brought in McFallen Mgwira and Hassan Kajoke for Phodo and Billiat.

Kajoke had his first attempt deflected for a corner kick that Bullets could not utilize.

In the 78th minute, Luke Chima and Festus Duwe came on for Aaron and Katinji.

Moments later referee Newton Nyirenda sent off Kadzinje for denying Kajoke a goal-scoring opportunity when the forward was found in a one-on-one situation with the shot-stopper.

Kajoke registered his name on the scoresheet in the 83rd minute with a simple tap-in from Nkhoma’s million-dollar pass into the box, 3-0.

At the other end of the field, Senaji made a timely clearance to deny Chima from reducing the arrears when he capitalized on a blunder from Chimbamba, who was caught napping in the line of duty.

Senaji and Nkhoma were replaced by Nickson Nyasulu and Righteous Banda. Bullets held on to record a convincing win and marched into the last eight of the Castel Challenge Cup.

What it means

The 3-0 triumph over the Servants means Bullets will face Ekwendeni Hammers in the quarter-finals at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday.

This is the third last-eight cup tie for The People’s Team this season after defending the FDH Bank Cup and also reaching the final of the Airtel Top 8.

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