Airtel Top 8 Cup holders Nyasa Big Bullets have stormed into the final after beating Silver Strikers 3-1 in the semifinal at Kamuzu Stadium yesterday.
Bullets are chasing a treble, having defended the TNM Super League championship and winning the FDH Bank Cup.
The People’s Team are also bidding to equal Silver’s record of two Airtel Top 8 titles after the central bankers won the competition on its inauguration in 2017 and in 2019.
Defender Gomezgani Chirwa, midfielders Ernest Petro and Patrick Mwaungulu scored for Bullets while substitute Stain Davie scored Silver’s consolation goal.
It was an entertaining game but both teams hardly created chances in the opening stages despite playing flee flowing football.
Chirwa put Bullets in the lead with a long range shot that sailed beyond Silver goalkeeper Emmas Nyirenda in the 22nd minute.
Silver tried to come back into the match but they failed to turn their possession into chances. It was Bullets who appeared hungrier and determined to progress to the next round.
After half time, Petro doubled Bullets’ lead in the 55th minute following clever movement from Precious Sambani.
Silver Coach Leo Mpulula made a double substitution, introducing Duncan Nyoni and Davie for Zebron Kalima and Patrick Macheso respectively.
Davie repaid his faith when he reduced the margin in the 66th minute.
As Silver were searching for an equaliser, Mwaungulu had other ideas as he restored Bullets’ two-goal cushion in the 71st minute.
From that moment, Bullets were managing the game as they had already done enough to reach their third final of the Airtel Top 8 after losing to Blue Eagles in 2018 and beating the bankers 5-3 on post-match penalties after drawing 1-1 in regulation time last year to lift the cup.
Bullets Coach Kalisto Pasuwa said his charges must improve when it comes to concentration. “We started very slowly and we were giving much room to the opposition.
The good part is that we scored a goal and it stabilised everything and we started playing our style,” he said. Mpulula did not grant radio reporters an interview.
To reach the semifinals, Bullets booted out Karonga United 8-1 on aggregate while Silver overpowered Kamuzu Barracks on 3-1 aggregate.
Meanwhile, Eagles will face Wanderers in the other semifinal at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon. Unlike Eagles, Wanderers have never won the competition.
Eagles Coach Eliya Kananji has said his charges have better chances of reaching the final.
Wanderers Coach Mark Harrison, who is also doubling as the team’s technical adviser, is also looking forward to the final.