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Jaffalie Chande earns Bullets title

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After moments of anxiety, forward Jaffalie Chande headed two second half goals to earn Big Bullets a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Azam Tigers and with it, the TNM Super League title defence at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday.

Bullets have now won the championship for a record 13 times after collecting 57 points from 24 games, 17 points ahead of second-placed Mafco.

It looked as though Tigers would delay Bullets’ party when Bright Munthali stunned the champions with a header following communication breakdown between goalkeeper Chimwemwe Kumkwawa and his defenders in the 8th minute.

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Bullets panicked in the first half, and on most occasions, their first touch was awful as Tigers easily won possession.

As Bullets surged forward, Tigers threatened to catch them through counter-attacks.

Bullets felt that they got an equaliser midway in the first half when Mussa Manyenje finished a neat move, however, referee Ishmael Chizinga, upon noticing that first assistant referee Charles Chataika had already raised his flag for offside, denied the goal.

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After resumption, Bullets pressurised upfront and they were duly rewarded when Chande connected a Yamikani Fodya telling cross in the 55th minute beyond Tigers’ impressive goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe.

The goal brought relief in Bullets’ camp which seemed to have been panicking despite needing only a draw to defend the title.

From that moment, Bullets bossed possession as Tigers battled desperately to regain the lead.

However, it was Chande again, who sealed the points for Bullets, with another header after rising winger Mac Farien Mgwira delivered a cross.

Bullets also threatened to increase the lead through Fodya and Bashir Maunde, but Kakhobwe was alert and agile.

Tigers had opportunities to catch Bullets off-guard, but their moves were somehow halted by off-side decisions.

Bullets’ coach, Mabvuto Lungu, said it was a long journey to retain the championship.

“We battled well. We won the championship because of team-work. The players were impressive and so were the supporters. The executive also played a crucial role in supporting us,” he said.

Tigers’ technical director, Robin Alufandika, blamed the loss on the officiating personnel.

“We tried our best but the referee let us down. We don’t have any problem with Bullets’ goals. However some of the decisions were bad and went against us,” he said.

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