Nyasa Big Bullets have replaced Silver Strikers at the top of the TNM Super League table after coming from behind to beat the Central Bankers 2-1 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Friday.
The victory has taken the People’s Team to 48 points from 22 matches, two points above the Central Bankers who have played a game more.
It was a sweet revenge for the People’s Team who lost the first round encounter 1-0 in Lilongwe.
Silver scored first through Hebert Wayekha, but in their nkumadzuro syndrome, the People’s Team equalised through Chimwemwe Idana soon after resumption before substitute Precious Phiri netted the winner in the 81st minute.
The top of the table clash lived to its expectations as the two sides gave their all.
For a good part of the first half it was Bullets who dominated play as Idana, McFarlen Mgwira, Misheck Seleman and Lanjesi Nkhoma created plenty of scoring opportunities for striker Paul Kansungwi.
Seleman should have put Bullets in the lead but he twice failed to beat Silver goalkeeper Charles Thom in one-on-one situations after being put through by Idana and Kansungwi.
Silver had Blessings Tembo, Duncan Nyoni and Frank Banda forming a three-pronged attack with Maxwell Gasten Phodo as a lone striker.
But the four were kept at bay by Bullets defence of Nixon Nyasulu, Sankhani Mkandawore, Eric Kawonga and Gomezgani Chirwa.
Opportunity after opportunity kept coming for Bullets, but poor finishing betrayed the home side.
Bullets ended up ruing the missed chances when Silver, against the run of play, took the lead through Wayekha who rose to head in Fodya’s corner kick with the last kick of the first half.
But soon after the second half kick off, Bullets equalised through Idana whose thunderous shot left Thom rooted to the ground.
Bullets kept pushing for the winning goal and to add more fire-power, assistant coach Peter Mponda pulled out Kansungwi and Mgwira for Ernest Petro and Precious Phiri in the 69th minute.
Silver also pulled out misfiring Phodo for Chinsinsi Maonga.
Chikondi Kamanga was replaced by Patrick Macheso while Zebron Kalima replaced Nyoni.
But it was Bullets’ substitutions that paid off as Phiri eluded Silver defence and connected a Sankhani Mkandawire free kick after a foul on Seleman.
Mponda congratulated his charges for attacking throughout the game.
He said: “It was a good game. Silver came defensively. We saw their formation and the first 45 minutes, the boys tried to take the game to them.
“They did everything to get an early goal, but defensively, Silver were organised. It was unfortunate that we conceded through a set piece after dominating the first half. But the positive thing was the reaction of the boys in the second half. Credit should go to them.”
Silver assistant coach Mcdonald Mtetemera said the loss was painful after taking a lead in the first half.
He however, said though they have surrendered the top position the battle is still on.
“We will go back and rectify the mistakes we have seen today and come back strong. There are seven games to go before we finish the season. Anything can happen,” he said.