Champions Nyasa Big Bullets yesterday cut Be Forward Wanderers’ lead at the top of the TNM Super League table to two points after a hard-earned 2-1 triumph over rookies Ntopwa FC at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Wanderers lead the 16-team league with 48 points while Bullets are second on 46 points. They have so far played 22 games apiece.
Ntopwa have now dropped a step to 15th with 20 points from 24 games after being displaced from the 14th by Mlatho Mponela, who edged Kamuzu Barracks 1-0 at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe through Patrick Banda’s strike.
At Mzuzu Stadium, Moyale Barracks beat fourth-placed Silver Strikers 2-1 to move two places up to eighth with 31 points from 22 games.
At Kamuzu Stadium, a first-half strike by Hassan Kajoke and Luke Chima’s second-half goal ensured that Bullets finally registered a win in the top-flight after failing to do so in their two previous games that saw them having successive goalless draws against Wanderers and 15th-placed Mlatho Mponela.
Kajoke drew first blood from a rebound after Ntopwa goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba spilled Peter Banda’s initial attempt.
Ntopwa restored parity in the 65th minute through Mphatso Magaleta’s well-taken penalty that sent Bullets goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda the wrong way. The penalty came after Ntopwa striker Richard Rabson was tripped in the box.
Chima restored Bullets’ lead with a simple tap-in in the 81st minute after he took advantage of a goal-mouth scramble. However, there was debate on the goal’s eligibility. Linesman raised his flag for off-side, but referee Ishmael Chizinga over-ruled his decision and pointed at the centre circle.
This happened barely two minutes after Bullets had a goal disallowed. Chizinga said the ball had already gone out before Nixon Nyasulu headed it back to Chimwemwe Idana, who stabbed it home.
Bullets veteran winger Fischer Kondowe also had a rare appearance and he marvelled the crowd with his trade-mark probing crosses.
The Perople’s Team coach Callisto Pasuwa admitted that they struggled but they were satisfied with the result.
“Teams at bottom give us problems. We were slow on initiating attacks but we are happy to have secured the vital three points and we are still able to maintain pressure on leaders Wanderers,” he said.
Ntopwa coach Trevor Kajawa, whose team has now suffered a fifth defeat in their last six league matches, said despite the loss, he was proud of the overall performance of his charges. “We are still struggling to get out of the relegation zone but today we played good football . If we continue like this, we will survive relegation,” he said.