Ten-man Nyasa Big Bullets got their Caf Champions League campaign off to a flying start after a vital 1-0 away victory over DSTV Premiership side AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa last night.
This means Bullets have an advantage heading into the second leg after scoring an away goal. They just need a draw to progress to the next round of the competition.
Bullets striker Chiukepo Msowoya scored against the run of play midway through the first half before left-back Yamikani Fodya was sent off for a foul late in this half.
The goal came after AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa had fumbled Babatunde Adepoju’s shot into Msowoya’s path and the veteran forward made no mistake from close range.
However, it was a hard fought victory as Bullets played the entire second half with 10-men following Fodya’s first half marching orders.
After the red card, Bullets Coach Kalisto Pasuwa made a tactical change when he introduced Precious Phiri for Msowoya.
Despite numerical advantage, AmaZulu failed to break Bullets defence comprising Sankhani Mkandawire, Gomezgani Chirwa and Miracle Gabeya.
The hosts had lion’s share of possession and also created several chances but were wasteful infront of the goal.
Bullets survived scare in the last minutes of the match as substitute Keagan Buchanan struck the post twice before Pilani Zulu missed another chance.
Babatunde also saw his header hit the post in the first half.
On the part of AmaZulu, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Siphesihle Maduna caused plenty of problems to Bullets but failed to find the back of the net.
Youngster Richard Chimbamba was handed his Caf Champions League debut in goals ahead of Ernest Kakhobwe and Rabson Chiyenda.
Veteran defender Sankhani Mkandawire led the backline alongside Gomezgani Chirwa, Fodya and Miracle Gabeya whereas Henry Kabichi, Kaira, Chimwemwe Idana and Mgwira started in midfield.
Upfront, Msowoya partnered Adepoju.
Pasuwa said the battle was not yet over.
“We came with a game plan and the players executed it well. But the game is still open and anything can happen,” he said.
AmaZulu Coach Benni McCarthy rued missed chances.
“We have got no one else to blame for the outcome of today’s game,” he said.
The winner between Bullets and AmaZulu will face TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo in the first round of the competition.
Bullets line up:
Chimbamba, Gomezgani Chirwa, Fodya, Mkandawire, Gabeya, Kaira, Kabichi, Idana, Mgwira, Msowoya, Adepoju