Nyasa Big Bullets striker Babatunde Adepoju yesterday scored four goals as The People’s Team thumped rivals Mighty Wanderers 4-1 in a thrilling Airtel Top 8 semi-final clash at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
His goals did not only guide Bullets into the final of the K90 million contest, but also helped him to increase his tally to eight and to the top of the scorers’ chart.
Bullets fans sang songs in praise of Babatunde while mocking his former club for letting him join The People’s Team recently.
The Nigerian scored one in the first half and three more in the second half and won Man-of-the-Match award that came along with K50 000 cash. Wanderers got their consolation through Vincent Nyangulu.
“As a striker, my job is to score goals and I am happy to have fulfilled my assignment today. It also feels great that I have increased my chances of winning the golden boot,” Adepoju said.
Wanderers captain Alfred Manyozo Jnr attributed the thumping defeat to lack of seriousness on their side.
“This was not a difficult game. We gave it to Bullets. It’s sad that we conceded silly goals on a big stage like this. I feel sorry for our supporters and I apologise for the loss. It is sad that we are going back home with nothing to show to our fans,” he said.
Yesterday, Adepoju drew first blood for Bullets in the 23rd minute when he scored from the spot-kick after Manyozo Jnr had handled the ball as he tried to clear it near the goal post.
Wanderers restored parity 11 minutes later when Vincent Nyangulu rose highest to head home a well-taken corner-kick by defender Ted Sumani.
The match appeared to be a balanced affair in the second half with both sides launching numerous attacks on the opponent’s half.
However, Adepoju’s insatiable hunger for goals weighed the game in Bullets’ favour. He scored three more goals before being substituted 10 minutes to time.
Adepoju notched his second in the 51st minute with a diving header from a rebound after Alick Lungu’s long-range attempt bounced off the crossbar.
The lofty striker completed his hat-trick 11 minutes later with another diving header, connecting home a dipping cross from Lanjesi Nkhoma.
He was at it again in the 77th minute. Another intelligent header in the box completed the rout.
The result means that Bullets are in the Airtel Top 8 final for the second time since the competition was established in 2017 and are hoping to lift it when they face either defending champions Silver Strikers or Civil United, who will clash in the other semi-final next Saturday in Lilongwe.
On the other hand, Wanderers, who reached the final in 2017, have now completed the 2020/21 season empty-handed.