This was supposed to be a match for redemption, but after 90 minutes, it only served to add salt on Be Forward Wanderers’ felstering wounds after losing 1-0 to rivals, Big Bullets, at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.
For the entire game, Wanderers coach Elia Kananji, like the Biblical Elijah, stood lonely with arms akimbo on the touchline as the reality of losing twice to the rivals in the TNM Super League gradually confronted him.
The reality of kissing goodbye to the league title hopes even sunk deeper after Jaffali Chande ghosted in the box to finish off a ball, which goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa spilled in a failed block of Bullets’ substitute striker, Diverson Mlozi, on the 51st minute.
Wanderers did not turn up, but for Chipuwa conceding the goal was the only blot in an otherwise inspired displays, Wanderers’ vice-team manager, Steve Madeira, admitted.
“Bullets should have scored two or three goals. He kept us in the game,” Madeira admitted in a post-match interview.
That goal left the Nomads 15 points behind Bullets and sommersaulting to eighth place with 26 points from 17 games, having lost four straight second round league games and winless since June at the stadium they call home.
“Some 15 points is just too much. Everywhere, we lost it [during the game].
The best team won today. They were first on the ball, we were second. Bullets is a big team,” Madeira admitted.
Not that Bullets–minus Sankhani Mkandawire, Owen Chaima, Chiukepo Msowoya and Vincent Gona–were at their slick best, but like they have done all season, they kept shape, discipline and waited patiently to punish Wanderers through their unforced errors.
“We knew that we have to be cautious and strike at the right time,” Bullets team manager, Rahim Ishmael, told the press in a post-match interview.
Inside opening two minutes, Wanderers defender Peter Nselema and midfielder Malumbo Gondwe committed catastrophic blunders, which Bullets striker, Sankhani Nyirenda failed to do justice.
The entire first half, Wanderers had one attempt on goal through Luka Milanzie’s header, which went straight into the palms of goalkeeper Chimwemwe Kumkwawa.
And when Milanzie picked out Kondwani Kumwenda with a delightful pass wide on the blind side on the edge of the box, he sent his shot to the eastern terraces to sum up Wanderers’ frustrating afternoon.
Bullets started the game strongly, attacking through left-back Yamikani Fodya and winger Dalitso Sailesi on the left flank to force too deep Wanderers’ Stanley Sanudi and Isaac Kaliyati.
Wanderers made matters worse for themselves by by-passing their strongest department of midfield, playing long balls aimed at striker Muhamad Sulumba.
The big striker’s first touch let him down and he was caged by Miracle Gabeya and Chikondi Likwemba.
After break, Bullets changed the tactics in attacking through the middle to release quick direct balls into the channels while taking advantage of the speedy Mlozi. Bullets had five shots on target against two for Wanderers. It was game over and with it, title dream over for wanderers.
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