…..Bullets 0-1 TP Mazembe
By Edwin Mbewe
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-In a thrilling match held at the Bingu National Stadium in the capital Lilongwe, FCB Nyasa Big Bullets failed to defeat an underperforming TP Mazembe in the first leg of the CAF Champions League second preliminary round, despite dominating ball possession.
Cheick Oumar Fofana of TP Mazembe opened the scoring just six minutes into the first half after being set up by Joel Beya Tumetuke, who found himself unmarked due to a lapse in the Bullets’ defense.
Hassan Kajoke had a chance to level the score in the 10th minute, but his effort went wide.
Kajoke made another attempt, only to have his shot deflected by a TP Mazembe defender, resulting in a corner kick.
Philipes Beni Kinzumbi, who looked creative for the visitors, had an opportunity to extend their lead in the 25th minute, but his shot sailed over the bar.
In the 32nd minute, Kinzumbi delivered a beautiful ball into the Bullets’ box, but Merciel Ngimbi Vumbi failed to capitalize on it.
In the 33rd minute, the home team appealed for a penalty as forward Hassan Kajoke was fouled, but the referee allowed play to continue.
Ernest Petro, one of the outstanding players for the Bullets, delivered a beautiful ball into the box in the 35th minute, but there was no one in a red jersey to receive it.
At the end of the first half, TP Mazembe led the Bullets 1-0, keeping their chances of advancing to the next stage alive.
In search of an equalizing goal, FCB Nyasa Big Bullets’ coach Kalisto Pasuwa made changes early in the second half.
Veteran Henry Kabichi was replaced by Ephraim Kondowe, while Anthony Mfune came in for Hassan Kajoke.
These changes brought stability to the team as they pressed hard for a goal.
However, the lack of experience played a significant role in the Bullets’ loss, as the players lacked composure.
At the end of the match, Bullets FC coach Kalisto Pasuwa acknowledged that his team lacked experience playing against a strong side on the continent.
Pasuwa noted that players often operated in non-threatening areas and lacked movement in the attacking third, where most goals originate.
“This is a game where experience matters. They scored early and tried to hit us with diagonal balls, but they failed to create scoring opportunities. That’s the nature of Champions League matches. You score one goal and manage it, and that’s it,” observes Pasuwa.
“We are struggling at home, so we shall see how we play away in Congo. The atmosphere will be different as the stadium is always filled to capacity, but Mazembe scored here, and we can go and score too,” he added.
TP Mazembe’s Head Coach, Mamadou Lamine Ndiaye, praised his players for their away victory, acknowledging that it was a tough match against Malawi’s champions, FCB Nyasa Big Bullets FC.
“It is a significant win today, but the game is over. We need to manage the game well in the reverse fixture at home. Playing at home doesn’t necessarily give us an advantage, as FCB Nyasa Big Bullets FC is also a strong side.
“Our strikers lacked precision, which prevented us from scoring more goals and gave us a disadvantage,” Ndiaye emphasized.
The two teams’ second leg of the TotalEnergies Champions League will take place on September 30, 2023, in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo.