Fierce rivals Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers on Saturday settled for a goalless draw at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre in their first TNM Super League derby of the season and their fourth successive stalemate.
However, the draw benefited Wanderers as they have displaced Kamuzu Barracks (KB) from the summit of the 16-team log-table on better goal difference after tying on 27 points from 12 games each.
The Nomads’ goal diifference stands at 22 against KB’s eight.
Bullets have also moved up to fourth on better goal difference against fifth-placed Blue Eagles. They are tied on 23 points from 13 and 12 matches, respectively, but The People’s Team goal-difference is 21 against five.
Minus the absence of goals, the tense and edgy derby started at the frenetic pace many had predicted and lived up to its expectation with both sides trying their best to outsmart each other.
Bullets appeared the sharper side up-front in the first half where they forced Wanderers on the back-foot with the likes of Mike Mkwate, Hassan Kajoke and Chiukepo Msowowa pulling the attacking strings.
They had three clear chances that could have earned them an 11th victory over the Nomads in 26 league meetings dating back to 2007, but Wanderers goalkeeper William Thole made spectacular saves.
No wonder he won the Man-of-the-Match accolade.
Wanderers gradually took command after the break with their attackers Francisco Madinga and Babatunde Adepoju making penetrative runs into Bullets’ half.
They were only guilty of failing to deliver the much-needed goals that could have earned them their first league win over Bullets since 2012.
“We were very flat in the first half, but we improved our performance in the second half. However, it was a tough game and the draw is not bad for us,” said Wanderers coach Bob Mpinganjira after the match.
On the other hand, Bullets coach Calisto Pasuwa also said he was satisfied with the draw although he believes they could have buried the game in the first half.
“Football is about pressure. We should have carried the day in the first half when we made numerous attacks at Wanderers goal. In the second half, we played too deep, inviting opposition to attack. Despite that a point from this match is good for us,” he said.
In other games on Saturday, rookies MlathoMponela and Savenda Chitipa United shocked Masters Security and Moyale Barracks with 2-0 and 2-1 victories, respectively.
Mzuni banked on home ground advantage to beat Dwangwa 1-0.