They were coming from two straight losses at the hands of Bullets. The odds were seemingly against them.
But Silver Strikers on Sunday put history behind them as they booted in-form Big Bullets FC out of the Presidential Cup with a 1-0 win at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
In a game of few chances, a 74th minute Chawanangwa Kaonga strike proved a decider to the pulsating round of 16 encounter. Kaonga scored after Bullets’ defenders failed to clear a ball from a well-taken free kick from Silver’s captain Lucky Malata.
Kaonga, who was a constant threat to Bullets’ defence hit a powerful shot using his left foot, giving Bullets’ goalkeeper Owen Chaima no chance.
The goal breathed life into Silver’s attacking machinery, which saw another powerful shot from substitute Ndaziona Chatsalira hit a Bullets defender, with Chaima already beaten.
In the first half, it was a see-saw affair, with both sides playing a balanced game. Bullets were, however, the first to attempt to score through a well-taken free-kick from Fischer Kondowe in the 2nd minute but Silver’s goalkeeper Charles Swini came to his team’s rescue.
Bullets also wasted an opportunity in the 12th minute, when Gabadinho Mhango hit Silver’s wall from a free-kick outside the 18 yard box.
Silver had a number of opportunities to score as well, and one of their chances was in the 30th minute a ball from a Jester Mlima corner kick was cleared by Bullets defenders.
The first half ended 0-0. The second half started at the same note, with few chances created.
Bullets’ talisman Gabadinho was tightly marked by Silver’s defence. This did not stop him from flicking a ball to Divason Mlozi, in the 53rd minute. Mlozi however failed to utilise the chance.
The decisive moment came in the 74th minute when Kaonga scored. Bullets tried to equalise but to no avail.
Silver Strikers’ supporters went into wild cerebrations when referee Mavuto Msimuko blew the final whistle.
The bankers had just revenged last year’s loss, having been booted out of the Cup at Kamuzu stadium by a 1-3 margin by the Bullets.
More still, the win brought to an end Bullets’ winning streak, having won 2-0 and 2-1 against the Bankers in Orange Partners Shield and Go-TV Challenge respectively at the same venue.
Bullets’ assistant coach Gerald Phiri attributed the loss to not creating enough scoring chances.
“We did not create enough chances. Our counterparts had one clear chance and they utilised it,” Phiri said.
Silver’s assistant coach Hellings Mwakasungula was over the moon with the victory. Silver are expected to play Kabwafu in the quarter-finals of the cup. – By Macdonald Thom