Mafco yesterday confined TNM Super League leaders Silver Strikers to a 3-0 thrashing at Chitowe ground in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota while Nyasa Big Bullets settled for a one-all draw with Azam Tigers at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Stain Malata hit a brace while Richard Mbulu struck once to help Mafco complete their first–round fixtures on third place with 28 points. Silver remain at the summit of the 16-team log-table with 29 points from 15 games.
They have the same points as second-placed Blue Eagles, who need to beat Wizards FC in their final match at Nankhaka Stadium next Wednesday to win the league’s first round.
At Kamuzu Stadium, Bullets left it late to draw with Tigers courtesy of substitute Divason Mlozi’s late strike. Tigers scored early in the first half through Precious Phiri.
This means Bullets have moved two steps up the ladder to position five with 24 points from 14 games while Tigers have finished the first round on ninth place with 22 points.
Phiri put Tigers in front in the 22nd minute with a header. He was completely unmarked in the box as he connected home a well-curved cross from the right flank.
Tigers deserved the lead as they dominated affairs in the first half. They appeared more lethal on the attack than the defending champions. Their attacking line, comprising Phiri, Bright Munthali, Alex Mkorongo and Martin Chongwe was quicker on the ball.
Bullets made a double substitution at the start of the second half; pulling out Henry Kabichi and Fischer Kondowe for Chiukepo Msowoya and McFarlen Ngwira. The changes almost reaped immediate results as they won three corner-kicks within the first minute of the final segment.
But it was in the 83rd minute when Bullets restored parity through Mlozi. He scored with a simple tap-in in the penalty area following a goal-mouth scramble. He could have won the match for Bullets had his last minute header not bounced off the post.
This was their second meeting in four days as they also tussled in Carlsberg Cup round of 16 at the same venue where Bullets squeezed through to the quarterfinals with a last-gasp 1-0 win
“Tigers came with purpose to avenge their loss in the Carlsberg Cup last Wednesday. However, we are happy to have salvaged a point in this difficult match,” said Bullets team manager Rahim Ishmael.
Tigers technical director Robin Alufandika said: “We failed to defend the game properly. Maybe this was not our day. But seriously, we need to strengthen our defence.”
Since 2008, the two sides have met 21 times in all competitions. Bullets triumphed on 11 occasions while Tigers won five matches. Five games ended in draws.