Nyasa Big Bullets needed a last minute goal from Chimwemwe Idana to beat Mzuni FC 3-2 to move to the top of the TNM Super League for the first time this season, dislodging rivals Be Forward Wanderers who were beaten 2-0 by Blue Eagles in Lilongwe.
Bullets mentor Kalisto Pasuwa made four changes to the squad that played in Saturday’s 4-2 penalty shootout win over Karonga United in the FISD Cup, with Chiukepo Msowoya, Rabson Chiyenda, Precious Phiri, Yamikani Fodya and Aziz Mwakifuna all included in the first eleven.
Just seven minutes into the match, Bullets were awarded a penalty by referee Kersten Mnenula following Lughano Kayira’s dangerous tackle on Hassan Kajoke, who stepped up to smash the ball past Pilirani Mapira in goals for the visitors.
Kajoke should have doubled the lead when he was set through by Mike Mkwate only to see his shot well saved by Mapira for a corner.
Bullets were able to double their tally through Kajoke who scored his 14th goal of the season. Brilliant move from Peter Banda to Chimwemwe Idana released Kajoke who unlocked Mzuni’s defense before pouncing the ball into the back of the net to send the stadium into massive celebrations.
However, the visitors made sure to remain in contention when they reduced the arrears through Steve Madimba who was left unmarked in the penalty box by Bullets’ defensive duo of Charles Petro and Nickson Nyasulu.
With less than five minutes to go before the interval, Rabson Chiyenda proved his credentials as one of the best goalkeepers in Malawi with a superb save to deny Chiku Dzodzi from leveling the score line.
In the second half, Bullets continued from where they stopped but their play wasn’t convincing as Mzuni FC started pushing for the equalizing goal.
Gift Kasambara tested his range just outside the penalty box, but Petro was very alert to block the goal bound effort for a corner which had no effect as Bullets cleared the danger away from their area.
Msowoya and Phiri were all substituted for Luke Chima and Gomezgani Chirwa as the hosts kept on pushing for another goal but the visitors’ defense stood firm to frustrate the home side and the fans.
The hosts were made to rue their first half misses when Taniel Mhango’s shot was deflected into the net to get the visitors level with less than ten minutes to play.
The match had some controversies in the dying minutes when Mnenula awarded Bullets an indirect free kick inside the penalty box to trigger massive protests from the visitors after their goalkeeper had recollected the ball he had dropped after a save.
However, the free kick had no impact as the visitors defended jealously to clear the ball away from their penalty box.
With the referee adding eight minutes to the clock, Bullets came back to life with a last minute stunning goal to send the whole stadium into a frenzy.
Mzuni FC piled forward in search of the equalizer in the closing stages of the match, but Bullets showcased their experience to claim all the points.
The result takes Bullets to the top of the summit with 49 points, a point above Wanderers who have also played the same number of games as The People’s Team, 23.