A controversial penalty awarded to Epac FC yesterday at Silver Stadium ended Big Bullets’s clean run in the TNM Super League.
Referee Roy Williams’ decision to award a penalty to Epac on an off-ball incident in the 59th minute received prolonged protests from Bullets players.
Richard Chande scored from the resultant penalty, which triggered ugly scenes as Bullets supporters bayed for the referee’s blood.
Bullets vice-chairperson Austin Kasito had to wrestle with the police after they fired tear gas at supporters.
The club’s chief supporter Isaac Jomo Osman and other supporters from Blantyre fought with police to let go Kasito.
It was a temperamental game from the start. Apparenly, there was animosity over transfers of Epac players Mussa Manyenje and Pilirani Zonda to Bullets.
Despite the fracas, Bullets recovered and could have levelled the score in the 76th minute but a hard grounder from Zonda was tamed by Owen Chaima in Epac goals.
Henry Kabichi had the last chance for Bullets in the 86th minute, but his deepening free kick was parried over by an alert Chaima.
Coaches from both Epac FC (Audlow Makonyola) and Bullets (Elia Kananji) admitted that the referee erred.
“The game was too big for the referee. It is a surprise that he was entrusted with this fixture. He was not up to the task. It is not like he favoured some teams, but he was just incompetent,” said Makonyola.
On his part Kananaji said: “Football in Malawi will not develop if authorities continue to appoint such incompetent referees. We have been robbed of victory today. It is painful to lose because of a referee’s wrong decision.”
After the final whistle, Bullets supporters who targeted the Epac bus were involved in scuffles with the police.
The loss has taken Bullets to second position to Blue Eagles on goal difference.
Other results of games played yesterday: Moyale Barracks 2 Blue Eagles 2, Airborne Rangers 3 Azam Tigers 0, Kamuzu Barracks 1 Civo United 2, Blantyre United 1 Chikwawa United 2.