Nyasa Big Bullets found solace in Chiukepo Msowoya’s 88th minute goal to seal a 0-1 victory over Civil Sporting Club in a thrilling TNM Super League encounter played at the Civo Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
This was Bullets’ second straight win in 72-hours after defeating Silver Strikers 0-1, deciding the direction of the title race with two games to play.
Head coach Kalisto Pasuwa made two changes to the side that beat Silver on Sunday, bringing on board Bright Munthali and Peter Banda for Luke Chima and Righteous Banda.
Bullets should have gone ahead in the 18th minute when Patrick Phiri’s long range drive missed the upright with an inch.
At the other end, Ibrahim Sadiki forced Rabson Chiyenda into making his first save for a corner before an intervention from Charles Petro who cleared the ball away for safety.
With less than 10 minutes to play in the first half, Phiri came close again when he was found in a one on one situation but the left-footed winger blasted his effort away from Tione Tembo’s goal posts.
In the second half, Bullets made a double substitution, introducing Msowoya and Righteous Banda for Phiri and Munthali as the defending champions desperately looked for the much-needed goal.
The hosts were better in the opening stages of the half, with Blessings Tembo and Innocent Tanganyika winning more ball possession at the expense of Chimango Kayira.
However, Bullets regained back control of possession through Idana and Banda but to unlock Man of the Match Nickson Mwase’s led defence proved too difficult for Pasuwa’s men.
Fischer Kondowe was introduced for Peter Banda while the hosts introduced Lanken Mwale for former Bullets striker Muhammad Sulumba.
The visitors came closer to scoring when Righteous and Kajoke combined well to release Idana who was in a one to one situation with the keeper only to drive his effort an inch away from goal.
At the other end of the field, Petro made a brilliant block to deny Raphael Phiri from scoring when Chiyenda was caught napping in the line of duty.
The People’s Team kept pushing for a goal, but Civil’s defence could not open up, leaving every Bullets supporter in total disarray.
There were many periods in this game when that seemed in doubt, when doubt was coursing through Bullets, and league contenders Wanderers’ deep belief looked like it might finally be rewarded.
Against that, Bullets were pounding away, both metaphorically and figuratively. There were so many passages of patient passing, players like Banda and Kondowe just holding on for that opening but Civil’s defence could not let them in.
However, that was all blown away with two minutes to play when Kelvin Phiri lost possession to Idana who exchanged passes with Gomegzani Chirwa before releasing Kajoke who delivered a million dollar cross into the box to find Msowoya who wasted no chance but to pounce on goal, 1-0.
The noise in the crowd said it all. The reaction of the players said it all. This was some release, to go with the timing of the minutes from which the goal was scored.
And when Referee Chidziwitso Simbi blew his whistle to mark the end of the match, Bullets players knew that they are just a step away from defending the title
Bullets will play their final two games against Moyale Barracks and TN Stars at home while fellow title chasers will travel to Lilongwe to play Mlatho Mponela and TN Stars in Kasungu.
The win takes Bullets to 64 points, a point above Wanderers from 28 games played.