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Match Report: Bullets 5-1 Red Lions

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets were in demolition mode as they hammered Red Lions 5-1 in a pre-season friendly match played at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Probably the final training match before the new season, Assistant Coach Peter Mponda fielded a very strong starting line-up that included some of the players who were with the Malawi National Team during the international break.

Bullets created plenty of goal-scoring opportunities from the first whistle as they attacked from all angles, especially from the wings where Alick Lungu and Blessings Mpokera were operating from.

Stanley Billiat saw his shot inside the penalty area hitting the upright after he was set through by Anthony Mfune.

Despite pressing and attacking from all angles, Bullets failed to make any breakthrough until the 31st minute when Mike Mkwate scored from a rebound following a commotion inside Red Lions’ defensive zone, 1-0.

Moments later, it was 2-0 following yet another masterclass from Billiat whose dazzling pass into the goal area was connected well by Lanjesi Nkhoma.

The visitors pulled one back in the 36th minute through an own goal scored by Frank Willard.

But The People’s Team restored the two-goal cushion seconds before the stroke of half-time through Mfune, who received a brilliant pass from Lungu, whose forward runs made life very difficult for Innocent Makalani who was operating as a right-back for the Zomba-based military side, 3-1 and that was all for the half.

After the recess, Mponda brought in Patrick Mwaungulu and Maxwell Phodo, with Nenani Juwaya, Steve Ziba, Nelson Msiska and Boniface Kaulesi replacing Clement Mlomba, Henry Josephy, Emmanuel Mofolo and Dave Meja for the visitors.

Unlike the first half, Bullets slowed down their tempo as Red Lions successfully closed down all the supply lines.

At this moment, the visitors were yet to register any shot at goal and Bullets kept passing the ball at will through Ernest Petro, Mkwate, Willard, Lungu, Mpokera and Mwaungulu.

The hosts had an opportunity to add more misery to the visitors when Mwaungulu delivered a beautiful pass into the goal area to find Phodo, however, the forward fired wide when setting up Mkwate was the best option.

In the 70th minute, Mponda introduced Clever Mkungula, Righteous Banda, Henry Kabichi, Kesten Simbi and Precious Phiri for Richard Chimbamba, Willard, Mpokera and Nickson Nyasulu whilst Ferguson Mtondo and Hadji Kung’unde replaced Humphrey Minandi and Alfred Sapanga for Red Lions.

Banda scored with his first touch in the 73rd minute when he finished off Mwaungulu’s excellent delivery into the goal area following the brilliant exchange of passes between Mkwate and Phodo to release the attacker, 4-1.

Banda completed his brace when he was at the receiving end of yet another assist from Mwaungulu, beating Juwaya who could only see the ball rolling into the back of the net, 5-1.

With nine minutes left to play on the clock, Collins Okumu, Eric Kaonga, Kenneth Pasuwa and Chawanangwa Gumbo came in for Clyde Senaji, Lungu, Petro and Mkwate.

Twice, Gumbo, with his excellent passes, found Phodo unmarked in the offensive zone, but the forward lacked the finishing composure in front of Juwaya’s goalposts, firing wide when scoring seemed easier than missing.

In the end, Bullets found their goal-scoring form by hitting five past hapless Red Lions a week before the NBS Bank Charity Shield showdown against Mighty Mukuru Wanderers at Bingu National Stadium next Sunday.

Mponda was excited with his charges’ performance.

“So far, we are happy with the way things are going. We have seen progress from the first week of our pre-season to this day. We did well in terms of ball possession and ball recovery whenever we lost possession, so I would say so far, so good,” he said in a post-match interview.

“It wasn’t only about the goals but team shape in terms of possession, recovery and movements. Yes, the scoreline is encouraging considering that we had played several games without scoring goals, but we did well today by taking our chances. We should have had more goals but this is part of preparing for the new season and I am sure we will fix some of the problems we have encountered today.”

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