Holders Nyasa Big Bullets eased past Karonga United on 8-1 aggregate as they booked a semifinal berth in the 2022 Airtel Top 8 Cup.
The two teams played out to a 1-1 draw at Karonga Stadium yesterday but Bullets already did the job in the first leg after a 7-0 victory at Kamuzu Stadium.
This means Bullets will face either Kamuzu Barracks or Silver Strikers in the semifinals of this year’s tournament.
KB and Silver drew 1-1 in the first leg at Chitowe Stadium last week but they face each other in the second leg next week at Champions Stadium in Mponela, Dowa District.
Having won the first leg with a convincing margin, Bullets Coach Kalisto Pasuwa had the luxury of resting some of the big names including Chimwemwe Idana, Precious Sambani, Ernest Petro, Gomezgani Chirwa and Patrick Mwaungulu. Despite resting key players, Bullets went ahead as early as five minutes through Hassan Kajoke’s goal.
After the goal, Karonga reorganised themselves and took the game to the visitors.
Josiah Duwa struck the post from Sheriff Shamama’s cross in the first half as the hosts came close to equalising. After the break, both teams made a cautious start to the second half.
However, the hosts levelled the scores through Mphatso Kamanga, who headed in a Shamama’s cross in the 61st minute of the match.
After the equaliser, Bullets made three substitutions when they brought in Misheck Seleman, Mphatso Magaleta and MacFallen Mgwira for Henry Kabichi, Precious Phiri and Alick Lungu respectively. But the match produced no winner.
In post-match interview, Karonga Coach Christopher Nyambose heaped praise on his players. “Honestly, we outplayed them on the natural surface, we knew they are used playing at the artificial turf. Anyway, we are out but the boys did well,” Nyambose said.
On his part, Pasuwa said he was ready to face any team in the semifinals.
“We expect tough match in the semifinals. Both Silver and KB are good teams and we cannot underrate them,” Pasuwa said .
Action in the Airtel Top 8 Cup will continue this afternoon as battle lines have been drawn between Mafco and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers at Chitowe Stadium.
The Nomads have advantage having won the first leg 2-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre but the Salima based soldiers will be hoping to turn the tables this afternoon.
The winners between Mafco and Wanderers will meet either Blue Eagles or Dedza Salima Sugar.
Eagles are one foot in the semifinals after winning the first leg 3-0 at Nankhaka Ground.