- Bullets win 7-6 in post-match penalties
The two teams were tied one-all at the end of regulation time. Bullets, who are the defending champions, will now face Silver Strikers.
Saidi Ntekema, Oswald Nkagula, Maurice Chiumia, Paul Phiri, Zasher Nong’oneza and Yohane Malunga converted the spotkicks for Mafco whereas Richard Mbulu, Martin Masoatheka and Hassan Chapola failed to score.
Pilirani Zonda, Mussa Manyenje, Dalitso Sailesi, Eneya Banda, Miracle Gabeya, Fischer Kondowe and Chiku Kanyenda scored Bullets’ penalty kicks while Jaffalie Chande and Bashir Maunde had their shots saved by Mafco goalkeeper Jailos Kapalamula.
Despite Bullets dominating play in the first half, it was Mafco who had the most chances. Callisto Kalinda could have put Mafco ahead in the 21st minute, but he unbelievably blasted over the bar in front of a yawning goal after dribbling past Bullets ‘keeper Vincent Gona.
Chiumia put Mafco ahead with a pure predatory goal 36 minutes into play. Nong’oneza floated the ball in the box from a freekick and Chiumia darted past Bullets’ Yamikani Fodya to head the ball past Gona.
The goal rejuvenated Mafco and they piled pressure on their opponents, but to their credit Bullets held on to their nerve.
Bullets came into the second half with an offensive mindset and cancelled the lead barely four minutes after recess.
Kondowe’s cross was fumbled by Kapalamula and Chande was well positioned to slot the ball into the net sending the ‘red army’ into rapture.
Mbulu messed up a golden opportunity in the 67th minute when he lobbed the ball over the bar with ‘keeper Gona out of position.
It was a sigh of relief for Bullets head coach Nswanzurimo Ramadhan who barked instructions from the touchline throughout the second half.
Ramadhan admitted that the game was tough.
“I’m just happy we have progressed to another level. It really was a difficult game,” he said.
Mafco coach Thomas Maloya was a heartbroken man after his side surrendered the lead.
“Penalties are cruel to decide a match. Overall we were the better side,” he said in a post-match brief. n