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Opponents watch: Civil vs Bullets | Airtel Top 8

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Fresh from the successful FDH Bank Cup campaign, retaining the trophy following a 3-0 triumph over Mafco on Sunday, FCB Nyasa Big Bullets switch focus to the Airtel Top 8 competition.

Bullets will begin the 2023 journey with the quarterfinal first-leg tie against Civil Service United at Civo Stadium on Wednesday.

Ahead of our meeting against the Servants, let’s take a look at how our opponents have performed in all competitions this season.

Civil is having a season to forget in the TNM Super League as they are currently fighting relegation.

In their two recent fixtures, they have registered back-to-back 1-0 losses to their city rivals Silver Strikers and Moyale Barracks.

Despite starting well this season, Civil have found the going tougher as they kept on dropping down in the standings.

From 24 games played in the league, they have only collected 25 points, scored 20 goals and conceded 26, sitting dangerously in the 14th position as the relegation battle has intensified between the bottom six teams.

With their history of being relegated to the Premier Division in sight, the Lilongwe side will have to do extra work to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2016 when they got relegated before they bought another Super League outfit Epac FC in 2017 and renamed it to Civil Sporting Club before reverting to Civil Service United in 2020.

Despite their difficulties in this campaign, they registered a comfortable 5-0 victory over Mgwirizano FC in the round of 64 of the Castel Challenge Cup at Civo on Saturday.

With Oscar Kaunda relieved of his duties as the head coach, Civil will now be hoping to use this massive result against the non-league side as a starting point for their recovery as they keep on pushing for results to get out of the drop zone with six games left to play.

How have they fared against us this season?

We have met them twice in the Super League from which we have collected four out of the possible six points. The latest was the stunning 3-2 comeback victory on 30 August when the defending champions came from behind at Kamuzu Stadium.

In the first round, Kalisto Pasuwa’s men also came from behind to collect a point following a 1-1 stalemate at Civo Stadium.

Our last cup meeting against Wednesday’s opponents

We last played them in a knockout competition in 2015. It was a semifinal match in the then Standard Bank Cup and Bullets took a first-half lead through Chiukepo Msowoya, but Civil staged a comeback in the second half through Raphael Phiri’s brace to progress to the final which they eventually won after beating Mighty Mukuru Wanderers 1-0 courtesy of a late strike from Nelson Kangunje.

Since then, we haven’t played each other in the cup games, but we have had several league meetings, which were mostly dominated by Bullets.

Civil players to watch

Binwell Katinji and Chikaiko Batison are Civil’s men to watch as they have tormented Bullets in the last four league games.

Katinji’s vast experience saw him netting two goals in succession in the first and second rounds of this campaign.

The pacey attacker is flexible when in possession of the ball, giving him an advantage to create spaces for either Luke Chima or Patrick Phiri who would then make runs into the offensive zones before delivering dangerous crosses into the box.

How they have fared in cup games

Since their successful 2015 campaign in the Standard Bank Cup, Civil hasn’t done well in cup games and the farthest they have gone is the quarterfinal stages.

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