The battle for TNM Super League championship took an interesting twist yesterday after Nyasa Big Bullets displaced Silver Strikers at the top of the table following their 3-0 victory over Ntopwa FC at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The victory also ended Silver’s four months reign at the summit of the table with Bullets now leading with 42 points from 20 games while the Central Bankers have 39 from 19 games.
At Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe Township, Mighty Wanderers beat Red Lions 2-0 to move two places up to third, dislodging rookies Ekwendeni Hammers who have dropped to fourth.
Bullets’ striker Hassan Kajoke’s swashbuckling hat-trick was the centrepiece of Bullets’ victory. However, despite the scoreline, the Amagheto Kids were more aggressive in the opening minutes of the game.
Former Bullets midfielder Kondwani Kumwenda and his new teammates Kondwani Saizi, Mphatso Magaleta, Hendrix Mitsinde and Arthur Moffat made some incisions into Bullets defence, threatening to get an early goal.
Bullets, though looking unsettled against the relegation-threatened Bangwe Township-based side, recovered and took the lead in the 20th minute against the run of play.
Kajoke slotted past advancing Ntopwa goalkeeper Richard Mwaira after being set up by striking partner Zicco Nkanda.
But the goal did not discourage Amaghetto Kids as they kept on attacking in search for an equaliser, with Kumwenda, who was named man-of-the-match, leading the onslaught.
Their only challenge was poor finishing and slackness to recover lost balls.
Despite a fine display in the second half, Ntopwa were again let down by a second goal from Bullets in the 81st minute from a Kajoke spot kick following a hand ball in the box.
He completed a hat-trick in added time after an interchange of neat passes between Ben Manyozo and McFarlen Mgwira ended with the striker scoring with a thunderous shot past Mwaira.
Bullets coach Callisto Pasuwa admitted that it was a hard-fought victory.
“We are at a stage where we need to collect everything. It wasn’t an easy game though. Well done to the boys,” he said.
Ntopwa technical director Isaac Jomo Osman felt proud despite the loss.
He said: “I am very proud of my boys. Despite the loss you saw how we played.”
Meanwhile, at Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe Township, the Nomads were on song and substitute Francisco Mkonda, who came in for injured Vitumbiko Kumwenda, netted the opener just before half time after connecting a Stanley Sanudi cross.
Misheck Bottoman made it 2-0 just after recess as the Nomads completed their mission to return to third place.
They have 34 points from 20 matches, eight points behind their rivals Bullets and six adrift of second-placed Silver.
The Zomba-based Malawi Defence Force side are 10th in the 16-team top-flight league with 25 points from 19 matches.