Malawian duo of Richard Mbulu and Gerald Phiri Junior made headlines in South Africa on Saturday after helping their depleted DStv Premiership club Baroka FC force to a one-all draw against Bloemfontein Celtic.
Super substitute striker Mbulu scored the late equaliser eight minutes to time while midfielder Phiri Jnr manned the goal-posts in the last 20 minutes of the match after Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze was shown a straight red-card for a professional foul.
The shared spoils means that Baroka are stuck on 10th place with 22 points on the 16-team logtable while Celtic, coached by former Flames’ midfielder John Maduka, remain 12th with 20 points.
Celtic would have leapfrogged Baroka on the standings had they won the match against a side that played with few men for 20 minutes until Celtic defender Justice Chabalala was also red-carded for violent conduct deep in stoppage time.
Mbulu found the back of the net 16 minutes after being introduced as a 66th-minute substitute with a strike inside the box following Goodman Mosele’s assist.
“I am happy to have helped my team avoid defeat and secure a point. It was really a wonderful experience,” said the 27-year-old Flames’ striker, who as of yesterday, was 15th on the scorers’ sheet with five goals, eight behind leader Bradley Grobler of SuperSport United.
Phiri Jnr was also Baroka’s saviour as switched to play as a goalkeeper after the home side used all of their substitutions and his performance between the sticks was not disappointing.
“Baroka suffered a major blow with just over 20 minutes to play when goalkeeper Chipezeze was shown a straight red card for a professional foul—seemingly sealing the points for Celtic, as Phiri Jr took on the gloves due to the home side having used all of their substitutions,” www.supersport.com reported.
“However, the Limpopo hosts dug deep and claimed an equalising goal on 82 minutes, with Mbulu converting Goodman Mosele’s assist to make it 1-1.”
Phiri Jnr, who narrowly missed a scoring chance early in the match, yesterday said it felt good to relive his childhood memories when he could man the posts in desperate times when a goalkeeper was not available.