Nyasa Big Bullets yesterday cruised to the Carlsberg Cup quarter-finals courtesy of post-match penalties after a hard-fought battle against Kamuzu Barracks (KB) at a fully packed Chilomoni Stadium in Blantyre.
But Bullets supporters had to endure a nerve-shredding wait as The People’s Team had to come from behind in the 89th minute to cancel Dave Banda’s strike and force the match into post-match penalties.
Bullets converted all their five penalties through Chiukepo Msowoya, Bashir Maunde, Emmanuel Zoya, Pilirani Zonda and Yamikani Fodya whereas Wild Nkuliwa, Nangaunozge Luhanga and Pempho Kansichiri converted for KB while Sammy Chiponda missed.
Bullets coach Eliah Kananji hailed his charges for their fighting spirit when they were a goal down.
“They never gave up at a time, many thought we were down and out,” he said.
The loss was a big let down for KB team manager Francis Nthukwa-Shawa, who blamed Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for allowing the high-profile match to be played at Chilomoni Stadium where he said the security was poor.
But for a good part of the game, KB matched Bullets pound for pound.
In central midfield, KB utilised the presence of battle-hardened Banda to cancel out Chimango Kayira and substitute Kondwani Kumwenda who were no match for him.
Banda’s trademark cracker from 40 metres in the 71st minute gave the soldiers an unexpected lead.
The former Flames captain hit a hard and low shot from a corner kick rebound that left Rabson Chienda in Bullets goal astounded.
But Collen Nkhulambe, just a few minutes after replacing Mussa Manyenje, saved Bullets when he pounced on a rebound from Mike Mkwate’s effort which hit the post.
Another Lilongwe-based side Silver Strikers were booted out by Red Lions at Balaka Stadium.
Kumbukani Mwambene’s second minute strike was all the soldiers needed to exact revenge on the Bankers who defeated them last weekend in the league.
At Mzuzu Stadium, Moyale Barracks booted out Dwangwa United 4-0. Khuda Muyaba claimed a brace while Lesman Singini and Wister Phiri scored a goal apiece for the Mzuzu-based Malawi Defence Force (MDF) outfit.