It might sound funny, but TNM Super League surprise leaders Blantyre United fear most 13th-placed Bvumbwe Research.
And having needed a last-gasp Muhamad Sulumba’s winner to beat the rookies 2-1 at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday, United assistant coach Steven Mbulaje believed their dream for a top-three finish is on track.
“The pressure is now building on us. This was one of the toughest opponents for us. They beat us 4-2 in the first round and this was a sweet revenge. It is never easy playing against a relegation threatened side. We respect Bvumbwe the most. What made it tougher was that the whole crowd was against us,” said Mbulaje in a post-match interview.
As Mbulaje and his boss Elia Kananji were granting the media interviews, on the pitch United players broke in gospel songs such as Mwachita Zazikulu Pamoyo Wanga. Their body language was that of pure relief as they clung to the top spot on 45 points, three ahead of Silver Strikers.
In this match, most fans, presumably for equally title-chasing Bullets, who faced Mighty Wanderers on Sunday, rallied behind Bvumbwe who despite controlling possession went behind 1-0 through Tizgobere Kumwenda in the 33rd minute.
After break, United defender Thoko Stambuli was so unlucky to see his thunderbolt glaze the bar in the 59th minute.
Bvumbwe nearly got a response, but Mayeso Mphanje’s poor free header failed to do justice to a left- wing pinpoint cross. United finally cracked under pressure as Vincent Chinthenga tapped in his 13th goal from a rebound after goalkeeper Carlington Misomali’s punch of a hard grounder in the 65th minute.
Bvumbwe piled on the pressure with man of the match Ben Mbewe keeping the midfield pot boiling, but finishing let down the Thyolo side. They were to be punished as substitute Sulumba, after wasting two other chances, scored from the edge of the area. Bvumbwe’s resistance and offside traps had crumbled.