Goals from each half were enough for Nyasa Big Bullets to beat Ekwendeni Hammers and open a 12-point gap over Blue Eagles on Wednesday afternoon in the tnm Super League.
Precious Sambani scored in the first half before substitute Nixon Nyasulu sealed the victory in the second.
The victory takes the People’s team to 48 points from 18 games and they are undefeated in all competitions this season while Ekwendeni Hammers remain 13th with 14 points from 18 games.
Coach for Bullets Kalisto Pasuwa was very happy with the victory and praised his charges for the performance.
He said, “Am very happy with the victory . The Boys were better today than the last game. We also need to score from open play because today we used set pieces. The boys are performing beyond the expectations. We are still building the team and I hope we are moving in the right direction. “
His counterpart, Etson-Kadenge Mwafulirwa accepted the defeat saying his charges failed to stop Bullets in set pieces.
“I told them that we need to play with them. We played well bit our opponents used their brilliance in set pieces,” said Kadenge.
Mwafulira said his team will survive in the league this season despite dropping many points.
Hammers last win in league dated back to April 17 when they defeated Rumphi 2-1.
In the field of play, Kalisto Pasuwa made two changes from the team that beat Rumphi United on Sunday as Captain John Lanjesi and Ernest Petro replaced Hadji Wali and Lanjesi Nkhoma.
On the other hand, Kadenge Mwafulira made two changes from the team that received a baptism in the hands of Mafco as Former Silver Strikers forward, Ndaziona Chatsalira and Chancy Mtete found their way into the starting XI in place of Emmanuel Kanthiti and Chikumbutso Henderson.
In desperate need of points, Nyasa Big Bullets started the game brightly as Babatunde Adepoju was at the thick of things in the 3rd minute of the game as he came close to break the deadlock. He reacted on Patrick Mwaungulu’s brilliantly taken free kick but his towering header missed the upright with inches.
Ekwendeni Hammers gained the momentum of the game and they started dominating the game but the transition from the midfield to the goal poachers was the great problem.
Nyasa Big Bullets broke the deadlock in the 21st minute as Precious Sambani headed home Patrick Mwaungulu’a corner kick.
Ekwendeni Hammers continued fighting for an equaliser but Bullets’ defence was well organized as they were blocking moves made by the veteran players, Ndaziona Chatsalira and Isaac Msiska.
Close to half time, Kesten Simbi sustained an injury after colliding with Hammers’ striker, Yohane Nkhoma and he was later taken off for Nixon Nyasulu.
Early in the second half, both teams failed to display their usual game due to the condition of pitch.
Yohane Nkhoma who was found unmarked in the offensive zone by Chawanangwa Gumbo but the striker opted for a long range shot when his partner Wongani Lungu was in his company in the 57th minute.
After noting some shortfalls in his team, especially in the midfield, Kalisto Pasuwa had to introduce McFarren Mgwira and Yamikani Fodya for Henry Kabitchi and Patrick Mwaungulu.
Bullets again punished the Hammers through counter-attack and they eventually conceded a corner that lead to the second goal.
The substitute, Mgiwra took it short to Idana who sent it into the box and it found Nixon Nyasulu unmarked and the centre half made no mistake but to head it home to give his team the 2 goal advantage with half-hour mark left on the clock.
After seeing his Strikers firing blank, Etson Kadenge Mwafulira made two changes as he took off Ndaziona Chatsalira and Isaac Msiska for Gift Chunga and Isaiah Nyirenda.
The changes ignited Hammers’ attack as they were able to penetrate through Lanjesi’s led defence but scoring was the real problem.
With a cup game coming ahead for Bullets, Kalisto Pasuwa rested Gomezgani Chirwa and Precious Sambani for Precious Phiri and Alick Lungu respectively while Hammers in their quest to attempt a remarkable comeback, they introduced Mabuchi Msiska for Blessings Singini but nothing worked as Bullets formed a rock at the back.
Bullets will return in action on Sunday as they face Moyale Barracks in the FDH Bank Cup while Hammers will be at home against Blue Eagles in a battle for a place in the quarterfinals of the tournament.
After recovering from the long injury, Precious Sambani cemented himself as the first choice left back for Bullets making at least 13 starts this season.
Despite his defensive brilliance, his vision, skill and ability to beat past opponent’s make him a better left back who offers more offensively.
Sambani has scored three goals this season for Bullets and he is the top goal scorer for defenders.
The skillful full back netted the only goal in a pulsating game that Bullets beat Mafco 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium on April 17, 2022.
Sambani also had his name on the scoresheet for Bullets when they beat Moyale Barracks 2-1 at Mzuzu Stadium and the other goal was scored by Babatunde Adepoju.
Named in a starting Xi against Ekwendeni on Wednesday, Sambani broke the deadlock after connecting Mwaungulu’s brilliantly taken free kick to put the People’s team in front.
Interestingly, all the three goals are assist from the pacy attacker , Patrick Mwaungulu.
After sealing a move to the Hammers from Mozambique, Ndaziona Chatsalira made his debut for Hammers against Bullets.
The former Silver Strikers striker failed to reach up their expectations of fans as he was pocketed by Bullets defence in the entire game and he was later taken off for Isaiah Nyirenda in the second half.
After missing the first round, John Lanjesi returned to the Starting Xi at Mzuzu.
The 2015 Super League best defender replaced Hadji Wali and was paired with Kesten Simbi.
Lanjesi has been an off and on player for a exile due to injury and Coach for Bullets Kalisto Pasuwa admitted that he is worried about the injury of his Captain.
“You know he has been out for a while but he has that quality to lead the game and I will need him in the Champions League, ” said Pasuwa last week.
This season, Lanjesi has been limited to only three starts.
With his presence in the game, he acted as the mentor for the young defender, Simbi and the duo formed a solid rock in the first half, restricting Hammers Strikers from troubling Clever Mkungula.
After Simbi sustaining injury in the first half, in the second half, Lanjesi was paired with Nixon Nyasulu and they kept Hammers at Bay in the entire game.
In other games, Civil Service United and Kamuzu Barracks shared the spoils at Civo Stadium after a one-all draw. Bashir Maunde scored for the Servants while Zeliati Nkhoma was on target for the Chioko Boys.
Royal Bokosi and Patrick Rudi scored a brace each in Red Lions’ 4-2 win over the struggling TN Stars in Balaka while China Chirwa and Frank Chizuze scored the consolation goals for TN Stars.