Nyasa Big Bullets are out of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League after losing 3-1 to South Africa’s AmaZulu yesterday in a second leg match.
Bullets had an edge over their opponents having won the first leg 1-0, but two goals within 12 minutes made Bullets to lose 3-2 on aggregate.
The hosts started on the backfoot as AmaZulu deployed an offensive approach to subdue the hosts.
Siyethemba Sithebe, Philan Zulu and Thabo Qalinge and Siphelele Mthembu were a menace to Bullets’ midfield of Chimango Kayira, Chimwemwe Idana, Macfaren Mgwira and Henry Kabichi.
It took the visitors just three minutes to score through Bonginkosi Ntuli from a penalty after defender Sankhani Mkandawire handled the ball.
The genesis of the goal was when Bullets goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba made a mistake, leaving his space to clear the ball outside the 18-yard box. Mkandawire handled Ntuli’s shot in his attempt to clear the ball.
The goal demoralised Bullets players who looked lost as the visitors took advantage to score the second goal in the 11th minute.
The celebration on the visitors bench after the goal showed how relieved coach Benni McCarthy was.
The two goals made Bullets coach Kallisto Pasuwa to change his game plan. He removed Kayira for Chiukepo Msowoya who scored in the first leg.
The best chance for Bullets in the first half fell to substitute Mischeck Selemani who replaced Mgwira. Unmarked in the box, he blasted over after Qalinge failed to clear the ball.
The visitors suffered a blow in the 39th minute after Zulu got injured and he was replaced by Makhehlene Makhaula.
Bullets came breathing fire in the second half and managed to open up the visitors defence.
The visitors conceded a free-kick just after two minutes of play and Henry Kabichi scored from the set piece curving the ball over the human wall.
But the celebration was short-lived as the visitors regrouped and countered.
Amigo Luvuyo Memela dribbled past Selemani and Mkandawire to cross to Mthembu to score in the 52nd minute.
The goal again demoralised Bullets players giving AmaZulu an opportunity to dominate and the hosts never recovered.
The visitors had the luxury of substituting their key man Qalinge for Bongeni Gumede.
Gumede played his role well and managed to slow the play down and AmaZulu came out victorious
In an interview, MacCarthy said his team was the best on the day.
He said: “You know in the first game we had 20 chances, but we could not score. We were unlucky that day. So, today I told the boys to aim at the goalkeeper and the goal will come and we did that three times and scored three goals. We played good football and we deserved to win.”
On his part, Bullets coach Callisto Pasuwa blamed the loss on complacency and poor defending.
“We saw some childish defending on the part of some senior players. I think some players were thinking we have already won and it will be easy. But I have been telling the players every day that it’s not over and we need to be focused but they didn’t listen,” he said.