Big Bullets booked a Standard Bank Knock-Out Cup semifinal ticket after beating Moyale Barracks 1-0 at Civo Stadium on Sunday, thanks to super substitute Diverson ‘Diva’ Mlozi’s opportunistic strike.
Moyale goalkeeper, Juma Chikwenga, wept after the final whistle as his uncharacteristic mistake ensured Bullets’ progression to meet Civo United in the semifinal.
Chikwenga failed to tame a back-pass from Lovemore Mitengo and gifted substitute Mlozi the goal. Mlozi kept his cool to slot the ball into an empty net in the 53 minutes.
The goal ensured that Blantyre giants, Bullets and Wanderers should date their Lilongwe counterparts, Civo and Blue Eagles respectively in the semifinals.
After the goal, Bullets engaged an extra gear and pressured the soldiers in search for a killer punch as Dalitso Sailesi, Jaffalie Chande and Mac Fallen Ngwira were a constant threat.
The Kaning’ina Lions should blame themselves for failing to utilise numerous scoring opportunities in the first half. Deus Nkutu, Komani Msiska and Dan Katunga lacked composure in the final third.
The first half ended goal-less, but Moyale were the better side.
Moyale had a Llyod Njaliwa’s goal ruled offside in the first half. Eventually, Khuda Muyaba nearly grabbed the opener, but Bullets ‘keeper Chimwemwe Kumkwawa was equal to the task.
Soon after recess, Bullets brought in Mlozi for Nyikiza Aimable and Jelesi Lufeyo replaced Henry Kabichi. The move paid dividends as The Peoples’ Team attacked with verve.
On the other hand, Moyale threw everything into attack as they pulled out Katunga for Steve Mkandawire, but Bullets defended jealously.
After the final whistle, Bullets supporters painted Lilongwe red as they celebrated in style.
In a post-match interview, Bullets coach Mabvuto Lungu was the most relieved man, saying his charges fought hard for the victory.
“We worked as a team and it was a spirited performance from the players. Moyale gave us a tough game but we kept our nerves to reach the semifinals,” Lungu said.
His Moyale counterpart, Charles Kamanga, rued missing scoring opportunities.
“We were punished by a lack of composure upfront and Bullets utilised their best chance of the game. But the assistant referee also contributed to our loss,” he said.
In other quarterfinals, Wanderers defeated Red Lions 1-0, whereas Eagles booted out holders, Silver Strikers, by the same margin on Saturday. Civo were the first to qualify after beating Dedza Young Soccer Stars 2-0 on Friday.
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