By Antony Isaiah Jr:..
Nyasa Big Bullets Football Club came off behind to salvage a point against their fellow league contenders, Blue Eagles Football Club on Saturday afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium.
Trouble Banda put Eagles ahead but Chimwemwe Idana cancelled it to make sure that their unbeaten record continues this season.
A point takes Nyasa Big Bullets to 58 points from 24 games while Blue Eagles remain on number 2 with 50 points from the same number of games.
This means that Nyasa Big Bullets have dropped points three times consecutively as they are coming from back-to-back draws against Civo Service United and Silver Strikers.
This is for the first time for the people’s team to drop points in three consecutive games for the past four years and Coach Kalisto Pasuwa said its the sign that the team is still under rebuilding.
“It means we are rebuilding, and that shows that we are still rebuilding a team and we believe that it will be a strong team next season,” said Pasuwa.
Chimwemwe Idana, Ernest Petro, Nixon Nyasulu were the new faces that Pasuwa brought into the game that did not start against Silver Strikers in Lilongwe while Jacob Robert and Trouble Banda were the players that did not start in a 1-0 defeat against Ekwendeni Hammers for Eagles.
Clever Mkungula denied Blue Eagles from netting an early goal as he made an unbelievable save. Trouble Banda who was operating from the right, cut inside and released the ball to Schumacker Kuwali who was on the edge of the box and he curled the ball to the far left lost, thanks to Mkungula’s activeness in between the sticks.
A midfield-trio of Chimwemwe Idana, Ernest Petro and Frank Willard gave Bullets an advantage of dominating the game and there was also Patrick Mwaungulu who was coming off the right wing to add up numbers.
Anthony Mfune used his pace to outsmart Sankhani Mkandawire on the left after being cleverly played though by Patrick Mwaungulu and the Striker rifled wide from close-range to the frustration of the Red family that filled up the Ndirande stand.
Getting three corner for the first 20 minutes showed that Nyasa Big Bullets were in need of a goal while Blue Eagles were sitting back and trying to catch their opposition on counter-attacks.
Anthony Mfune was the only striker who was very lively and was giving Eagles’ defence a tough time and again, he used his cleverness to break through the right and played a cut-back to Chimwemwe Idana who was unmarked but his effort was cleared away by Jacob Robert with goalkeeper, Bright Munthali already beaten.
Both teams were forced to make changes due to injuries as Blue threw in John Malidadi junior for Schumacker Kuwali while Bullets introduced Erik Kaonga for Precious Sambani.
A moment after recess, Nyasa Big Bullets came nearly to break the deadlock as Patrick Mwaungulu released Babatunde Adepoju on the left but the Nigerian who had no impact in the game, spotted Mfune who was in the box using his weak foot but Macdonald Lameck cleared it for a corner.
Eagles changed the approach of the game as Eliya Kananji instructed his right forward, Rabson Richard and his co to start closing Bullets down from the third phase.
The approach frustrated Bullets who rely who on their defenders to start the move and they were pressed into their half and they got paid off.
Knowing that breaking through their left hand side where Trouble Banda was playing was difficult, Eagles started using their right wing where Rabson were operating from.
Micium Mhone with his pace, intelligence cut up Bullets’ defence and he played it behind the defence finding Trouble Banda on the D-zone and the young man placed it on the left top corner beating Clever Mkungulu to put the Eagles in front in the 66th minute.
Babatunde Adepoju was pulled out for Hassan Lajoke and the happiness for the Eagles lasted on seven minutes as Chimwemwe Idana levelled the scores in the 73rd minute.
Excellent passes between Enerst Petro, Chimwemwe and Mwaungulu opened up Eagles’ solid defence and Mwaungulu found Idana in the box, the Captain beat a defender before putting the ball past Brighton Munthali who was manning the posts.
Richard Rabson missed the target with some inches from the edge of the box after being found by the left back, Iyan Chinyama before being replaced by Laurent Banda.
Anthony Mfune’s selfishness costed the team as he used his effort to run with the ball, he burst forward from the middle of the park and on rifled the shot wide from the impossible angle with his teammates inside the box unmarked.
Pasuwa, despite the draw, was contented with the draw.
“It was a good game and am proud of my boys. Until today, we are yet to be beaten and this is the team that I thought were supposed to beat us and take the three points and cover up the gap. Playing all these games without getting a defeat, it means that we are coming up. Next year it will be a good team. They [players] played well, mentally we are strong, if we managed to come from behind and get a point, it’s good and better,” said Pasuwa.
With 6 games to go and 8 points ahead of Blue Eagles, Pasuwa said the league is still open for everyone.
“Us as Bullets, we don’t look on that, we play each and every game as it comes. I told you from day one to say we will concentrate in every games. We will talk about Championship in the last games,” he added.
Eliya Kananji, Coach for Eagles was happy with a point saying it was a 50-50 game.
“Both teams were playing with aggressiveness. We found the goal but we couldn’t defend it. It was a counter-attack and our defenders made mistakes and our friends utilised it,” said Kananji.
He added that they will give up on the title chasing after playing three games.