By Isaac Salima:
TNM Super League defending champions and leaders Nyasa Big Bullets returned to winning ways in great fashion with a 5-1 demolition of Sable Farming during a thrilling showdown at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre Wednesday.
Man-of-the-match Babatunde Adepoju emerged hero of the day after banging in four goals that saw him returning to the top of the scorers’ chart with 16 goals.
Thomson Magombo scored the other goal for Bullets while Mike Teteh claimed Sable’s consolation.
Bullets now have 61 points from 24 games and are on course to reclaiming the league title.
It was a sweet victory for the People’s Team, which has opened a 10-point gap with second-placed Kamuzu Barracks (KB).
The soldiers displaced Blue Eagles with a 1-0 victory in another game played Wednesday at Champion Stadium in Mponela, Dowa District.
Olson Kanjira scored the lone goal that saw KB climbing to 51 points on the table from 26 games.
At Kamuzu Stadium, Sable were hoping to collect maximum points in their bid to escape relegation.
However, Bullets were in an uncompromising mood that left the farmers languishing on position 14 on the table, with 21 points from 25 games.
It was the Super League rookies who started the match like a house on fire, keeping Bullets on the back foot for a good part of the first half.
Little wonder then that they scored in the 19th minute when Teteh capitalised on a defensive lapse in the Bullets camp to fire straight into the net past goalkeeper Clever Nkungula.
But the lead was short-lived as Adepoju equalised a minute later through a header. Franklin Mlimanjira had tried to clear the goal-bound ball from the line but referee Mwayi Msungama blew for a goal after adjudging it to have already gone in.
Bullets clearly struggled in the first half as they were without regulars such as Gomezgani Chirwa, Chimwemwe Idana, Patrick Mwaungulu and Precious Sambani due to injuries.
However, the newcomers failed to turn their dominance into goals, coupled with squandering of scoring chances.
After the break, Bullets rested Eric Kaonga, McFarlane Mgwira, Hassan Kajoke and Magombo and introduced Alick Lungu, Precious Phiri, Anthony Mfune and Henry Kabichi.
Bullets went ahead in the 56th minute through Magombo’s free header before Adepoju came back onto the scene in the 76th and 77th minutes with two quick goals.
He wound up the afternoon’s business in the dying minutes with a cool finish that ended the game at 5-1.
However, Sable Coach MacDonald Mtemetera remained positive.
“We are not out yet. We still have games to play and the belief still remains, though I have noted that there are some players who are lacking commitment,” Mtetemera said.
Bullets Coach Calisto Pasuwa said the substitutions helped them turn things around.
“We struggled in the first half and we gave them so many spaces,” Pasuwa said.