BLANTYRE (MalawiTalk) – The champions Nyasa Big Bullets survived Ntopwa FC scare in the TNM Super League when Hassan Kajoke’s late equalizer preserved the team’s seven-year beaten run at at Kamuzu Stadium their home ground when The People’s Team endured a frustrating Saturday afternoon with a 1-1 draw.
Bullets were left reeling early as Hendrix Misinde fired the visitors in front in the 14th minute, but eventually recovered and drew level with 12 minutes to play.
The People’s Team’s woes started in the first minute when first-choice goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda was substituted after sustaining a shoulder injury after forcing Misinde’s shot for a corner.
The Amagheto Kids drew first blood when Potipher Likoswe got the better of Miracle Gabeya before releasing a diagonal ball into the box to meet Misinde who beat substitute goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba, who spent the whole of last season on loan at the Bangwe side.
The goal certainly caught Bullets by surprise and they struggled to impose themselves on the proceedings. Kalisto Pasuwa’s side went in search for an equalizer, but the visitors defended jealously to frustrate the hosts.
The defending champions suffered another massive blow in the 20th minute when Aziz Mwakifuna twisted his ankle as he was trying to control the ball and was replaced by Mike Mkwate.
Mkwate’s introduction allowed Bullets to press higher in search of a goal and Pasuwa’s troops should have leveled in the 35th minute, but Kajoke had his shot deflected by George Nyirenda.
Bullets had another chance before the close of the opening half, but were not clinical enough as Kajoke wasted another opportunity when his shot from the six-yard box was parried by Mwaila before being cleared by Josaya Duwa.
In the second half, Bullets kept on pushing for an equalizer, but the visitors opted to seat back and defended in numbers.
In the 69th minute, Mkanda hit a post in unbelievable circumstances when Kajoke’s shot was fumbled by Mwaila into the path of the forward who calmly controlled the ball and pressed it only to be denied by the upright with the ‘keeper already beaten.
Kajoke finally found the back of the net with 12 minutes to go and levelled the scoreline when Mwaila gifted the ball to Selemani, who wasted no time but send it into the box where the striker rounded off the goalkeeper to make it 1-1.
In additional minutes, another chance fell to Mkanda who could only afford to gift the ball to the Ntopwa goalkeeper as he tried to flick it past him, and after 90+5 minutes of play, 1-1 it ended.
Reacting to Bullets’ third draw at home, Pasuwa admitted that his charges were not good especially in the first half.
“We conceded early and we had two injuries in the first 20 minutes and this disturbed us a lot. We also started the game on a very slow pace as we were always second on the ball and we failed to contribute anything in all phases.
“In the second half we were better offensively and we created more chances, but we couldn’t capitalize,” said the head coach.
The result leaves Bullets still on eighth position with 12 points from seven games, whilst Ntopwa are seventh with 14 points from nine games.