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Match report: Moyale 0-0 Bullets

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets were left to rue missed chances as they recorded a frustrating goalless draw away to Moyale Barracks at Mzuzu Stadium on Monday afternoon.

After looking relatively enterprising in the first half, The People’s Team struggled after the interval to create openings against the hard-working hosts who defended with everything to earn a point over the defending champions.

What happened

The game got off to a lively start with the hosts creating a clear goal-scoring opportunity in the first four minutes through Brown Magaga who failed to slot the ball home from Raphael Phiri’s corner-kick.

Innocent Nyasulu was already beaten in his goal line, but Magaga blasted his effort over the crossbar.

Afterwards, Bullets took over proceedings with a high-pressing football through Patrick Mwaungulu, Chawanangwa Gumbo and Babatunde Adepoju, but the visitors lacked the finishing composure to punish the soldiers who were very weak in defence.

With 10 minutes played, Mwaungulu’s delivery into the box found Babatunde who rose higher in the sky to send his powerful header over the crossbar for a goal-kick.

The visitors were pressing for a goal and they should have had one in the 11th minute when Precious Sambani connected well from Mwaungulu’s corner-kick only to be denied by Simeon Harawa for another set piece which was well defended by Prichard Mwansa’s men.

At this moment, it was Bullets all over the place searching for a goal, but our strikers weren’t clinical enough to do the much-needed work.

Hassan Kajoke was the next player to waste a glorious opportunity in front of Harawa’s goal at 22 minutes when, with the only goalkeeper to beat, failed to tap in from Mwaungulu’s free kick. From the rebound, Babatunde’s attempt hit Emmanuel Allan for a corner kick that was easily handled by the shot-stopper.

These missed chances nearly proved costly as ex-Bullets centre-half, Maneno Nyoni, thought he had scored from Raphael Phiri’s freekick only to be denied celebrations by the second assistant Stephen Nyirenda’s flag for offside in the 25th minute.

In terms of chances created, Pasuwa’s men had plenty more than their opponents and had it been that they were very clinical in front of goals, the match would have been decided in the first half.

With half an hour played, Nickson Nyasulu, featuring for the team for the first time this season, lost possession in the danger area. Phiri should have punished us, only to be denied by goalkeeper Innocent Nyasulu, who came to the rescue with a brilliant save to keep the game at 0-0.

Bullets had another chance in the 33rd minute when Mwaungulu, doing everything in his power to do something extraordinary, released Babatunde to his right, however, the forward fired wide as he looked for the far post with the weaker foot.

With three minutes remaining on the clock, Bullets wasted another chance. Mwaungulu was at it again with a brilliant pass to Kajoke on the edge of the box, but the forward fired straight at Harawa and that was all for the half.

After the recess, Pasuwa brought in Lanjesi Nkhoma for Ernest Petro to try to increase our attacking intensity in the final third.

It only took five minutes for Bullets to create another opportunity when a long ball from Lloyd Aaron almost found Kajoke inside the six-yard box, but Nyoni was quick to react with a timely clearance for another set piece which we wasted.

Moyale brought in another former Bullets player, Luke Chima, for Allan, but they did little to create meaningful chances as we were first on the ball and attacked with intent.

For the next 25 minutes, chances were very few, but Bullets came close to finding the much-needed goal in the 64th minute when Mwaungulu went for it with a powerful effort just outside the penalty box, but Harawa was equal to the task with a brilliant save to keep his team in the game.

Mwansa brought in Peter Ng’ambi for Robert Mphenzi as he looked to bring stability to the loose defence.

The clock was ticking against both teams and this increased pressure as strikers from each end fired at goal unnecessarily, the latest being Chima who had all the time in the world to punish us, but he went for the goal on the wrong side of the pitch as his ball rolled out for a goal-kick.

Bullets’ closest chance and possibly the last opportunity came in the 82nd minute when Gumbo released Babatunde to the left. The Nigerian got the better of Nyoni and was in a one-on-one situation with Harawa, unfortunately, he fired wide as he tried to guide the ball into the far corner.

There was no late drama despite Ronald Chitiyo’s introduction in the 84th minute for Kajoke as the Lions of Kaning’ina stood firm to collect a point over the defending champions, who failed to dislodge Mzuzu City Hammers from second position.

What it means

The fifth draw of this TNM Super League campaign means Bullets are eight points behind the current log leaders, Silver Strikers, who defeated Karonga United 4-2 on Saturday to take their tally to 22 points.

From eight games played in the new campaign, Pasuwa’s men have collected 14 points and sit fourth in the standings. Mzuzu City are second with 16 points while Kamuzu Barracks are third with 15 points

What next

The People’s Team will now focus on Sunday’s TNM Super League clash against leaders Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium.

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