Lanjesi Nkhoma scores twice as Bullets put five past hapless Tigers – Malawi 24
Defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets showed their superiority with an emphatic 5-0 triumph over Mighty Tigers at Kamuzu Stadium to open up a seven-point lead over second placed Blue Eagles who play Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on Sunday.
A classic header from Precious Sambani, two late strikes from Lanjesi Nkhoma and lone strikes from playmaker Patrick Mwaungulu and Babatunde Adepoju sealed maximum points for the 15-time Super League winners who sent a statement of intent to all the title contenders as the first round is nearing its end.
With this win, The People’s Team have now opened a seven point gap over the second-placed Blue Eagles who have a game on Sunday.
They remain one of the two teams yet to lose a match in the top flight league this season.
Head coach Kalisto Pasuwa maintained his first eleven that defeated Silver Strikers 3-1 before the international break a fortnight ago whilst Trevor Kajawa made two changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Sable Farming on Wednesday, with Jafali Maunde and Fatsani Chilikumtima all replaced by Bright Ntondagowa and Mphatso Kasonga.
Sambani put Bullets ahead in the 16th minute with a brilliant header from a Mwaungulu’s well taken corner kick following a great team move which saw Dalitso Khungwa coming out of his comfort zone to produce a save which resulted into the said set piece.
Bullets should have doubled their lead in the 24th minute when Nkhoma’s cross was cleared by Peter Barry only to see the ball landing straight at Ernest Petro who wasted no time by shooting at goal but Khungwa was equal to the task with a stunning save.
At the other end, Kondwani Chilembwe saw his goal-bound tap in being cleared before crossing the line by Kesten Simbi, resulting into Richard Chimbamba’s injury after he collided with Mphatso Kasonga.
Nkhoma was at it again, this time around, forcing Khungwa into producing another save to deny the winger from finding his first goal of the season.
Khungwa, who was the busiest goalkeeper of day, could not do anything to stop Adepoju from scoring his seventh goal of the season when the Nigerian was put through by Mwaungulu in the offensive zone to beat the defenseless shot-stopper, 2-0.
Chimbamba was replaced by Clever Mkungula on 37th minute after sustaining that injury earlier in the match.
Kajawa brought in Maunde for Kasonga in the 42nd minute of the match to try to restore some sanity in the midfield where Bullets, through Chimwemwe Idana, Petro and Blessings Mpokera dominated.
But this change couldn’t stop Pasuwa’s men from extending their lead in the additional minutes.
Mwaungulu turned from a provider to a scorer when he scored his fifth goal of the campaign with a simple tap in on the stroke of half time following Adepoju’s excellent work from the left as he used his pace to outrun Barry before sending the ball into the box, 3-0.
In the second half, Tigers made a double substitution in Fatsani Chilikumtima and Rafiq Juma for Barry and Ntondagowa.
But Bullets continued from where they stopped, attacking from all angles and Tigers had Khungwa to thank as his saved prevented them from conceding more goals.
Nkhoma was set through by Idana to the left and the quick winger made his way into the box only to slip into Emmanuel Nyirenda when the goalkeeper was beaten in the line of duty.
The hosts were coming wave after wave and they should have a goal in the 51st minute when Adepoju combined well with Idana to release Nkhoma but once again, Khungwa came to Tigers’s rescue with a save for a corner kick which they easily defended.
Tigers had a single goal scoring opportunity in the 62nd minute when Simbi lost possession to Chilikumtima but the forward was slow to make a decision and allowed Hadji Wali to make a timely intervention, clearing the ball to safety.
In the 63rd minute, Khungwa was called into action again to deny Mwaungulu from scoring when the winger got the better of Henry Chiwaya with his pace before shooting at goal.
Tigers made another change in the 66th minute when Kajawa introduced former Bullets winger Dalitso Sailesi who replaced Chilembwe.
But it was Khungwa again with yet another save, denying Mwaungulu from finding the back of the net when he was set through by Petro.
Pasuwa introduced Henry Kabichi and Righteous Banda for Mpokera and Sambani to try to add some fire power upfront in search of more goals.
And Bullets had their fourth goal in 75th minute through Nkhoma who scored his first goal of the season.
A long ball from Mkungula found Mwaungulu who quickly forwarded it to Nkhoma for a simple finish, beating Khungwa who could do nothing as his defence was nowhere near the action area, 4-0.
Nkhoma completed the rout on 78th minute, scoring his second goal of the season from a rebound after Idana’s shot was saved by Khungwa, 5-0.
There were late changes towards the end of the match, with Macfallen Mgwira and Stainley Billiat coming in for Idana and Adepoju.
Banda saw his rocket missing the upright with an inch before Mgwira’s miss inside the penalty box when he was found unmarked by Mwaungulu and in the end, Bullets collected three points to move seven points clear of Eagles who face Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on Sunday at the same venue.
The win takes Pasuwa’s side to 35 points from 13 games whilst Tigers drop to 8th position with 15 points from 14 games.
At Silver Stadium, Silver Strikers and Moyale Barracks played out to a goalless draw.
This means the Central Bankers have now played three consecutive games without a win, drawing twice and losing once as they occupy 5th position with 17 points from 12 games, with Moyale Barracks now sitting on 9th position with 14 points from 13 games.
There was also another goalless draw at Rumphi Stadium between Ekwendeni Hammers and Red Lions.
The two teams are on 13th and 11th position with 12 points from 12 games and 13 points from the same number of games respectively.
The action continues on Sunday with some exciting fixtures.
At Kamuzu Stadium, Wanderers will host Eagles whilst Mafco FC wil welcome Dedza Dynamos at Chitowe Stadium.
TN Stars will play host to Civil Service United at Kasungu Stadium, with Rumphi United entertaining Karonga United at Rumphi Stadium.
The final match of the day will see Kamuzu Barracks welcoming Sable Farming at Civo Stadium.
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