By: Andrew Cane Chilapondwa
Muhamad Sulumba saw his spot kick well saved by Juma Chikwenga as Big Bullets were held to a goalless draw by Moyale Barracks in the official launch of 2016 TNM Premier League.
The defending champions had more than six shots at goal in the opening 15 minutes of the match but Chikwenga in goals for the Soldiers was very outstanding.
Without the injured duo of Chiukepo Msowoya and Sankhani Mkandawire, Bullets had to rely heavily on Sulumba and Mussa Manyenje up front, with Miracle Gabeya playing as the last man in defence.
Just after three minutes into the half, Sulumba’s header was saved by Chikwenga. Moyale’s defence was under siege as Sulumba scored just after the half hour mark only to be denied by referee Dennis Ngulube for offside.
The visitors then settled down as Lloyd Njaliwa, Crispin Fukizi and Khuda Muyawa combined well towards the end of the first half only to be denied by Enerst Kakhobwe’s fantastic saves.
With few minutes to play in the half, George Nyirenda was substituted for Chikondi Likwemba.
Come the second half, it was Moyale who dominated as Bullets’s midfield failed to withstand the pressure from the Soldiers.
A diagonal ball from Steve Mkandawire caught Bullets defence napping but Kakhobwe was very alert as he pared the ball for a corner.
Bullets were leaving dangerously as the visitors piled more pressure on the defending league champions, who were thrice saved by Gabeya’s brilliance in defence.
Despite playing under pressure, it was Bullets who got the closest chance as Manyenje was brought down by Black Aliseni in the penalty box to leave Ngulube with no choice but to award the host a penalty.
However, Sulumba saw the spot-kick well saved by Chikwenga who produced another save from the rebound to frustrate the home fans.
Few minutes later, Manyenje was set through by Henry Kabichi only to fire straight at Chikwenga who deservedly won the man of the match award.
With less than 10 minutes to play, Fukizi’s long range effort was saved by Kakhobwe and after 90 minutes of play, it ended goalless.
Speaking to the press after the final whistle, Bullets coach Franco Ndawa hailed his boys for performing well but was quick to point out that the game should have been won in the first half.
His opposite number, Collins Nkuna was happy with the first point collected away from home.