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Seven live Bullets

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Nyasa Big Bullets put their first league loss behind to start their Airtel Top 8 Cup defence with a 7-0 drubbing of Karonga United at Kamuzu Stadium Saturday.

It was a timely response from the People’s Team, whose unbeaten run on the domestic this season ended last week when they lost to Mafco 1-0.

Karonga arrived in Blantyre full of confidence, threatening to win or at least force a draw before the return leg slated for November 26.

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The rains that hit the venue earlier were an indication that the match will be full of goals.

In the first five minutes, Bullets could have been two or three goals up but strikers Lanjesi Nkhoma and Anthony Mfune missed their chances.

Nevertheless, Mfune opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a deft finish following a set from Thomson Magombo.

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As Karonga were reorganising themselves, Nkhoma claimed a brace with wonderful strikes in the 30th and 43rd minutes of the game.

Victor Chirambo of Karonga was lively at the middle but his efforts were in vain. In this half Bullets substituted injured Mfune for Babatunde Adepoju who is last season’s top goal scorer with eight goals.

After resumption, Karonga launched some attacks but Bullets were solid at the back where Haji Wali returned after his self-imposed exile.

In the second half, four Bullets substitutes Babatunde (52nd), Stanley Billiat (82nd), Henry Kabichi (84th) and Precious Phiri (90th) were on target once each as the Peoples Team secured victory.

Karonga Coach Christopher Nyambose conceded defeat saying his charges gave Bullets “too much respect”.

“We gave them too much respect and room to play around. The second leg is going to be a tough match because we have lost comprehensively,” he said.

Bullets Coach Kalisto Pasuwa said it was a good response but he refused to get carried away with the result.

“The return leg will not be an easy match because this is one of the team’s that gives us problems,” he said.

Airtel Top 8 Cup will continue this afternoon when Mighty Mukuru Wanderers date Mafco at Kamuzu Stadium in the first quarterfinal leg. Both teams have never won the cup.

This year’s winners will pocket K17 million from the K78 million sponsorship whereas the runners-up will get K6 million.

Silver Strikers are record holders of the Airtel Top 8 Cup having won twice–on its inauguration in 2017 before reclaiming the title in 2019. Blue Eagles won it in 2018.

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