FCB Nyasa Bullets have stormed into the Castel Challenge Cup final after dispatching arch rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers 4-2 on post match penalties at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre following one-all stalemate in regulation time.
The Nomads had to come from behind to cancel Bullets’ lead from Patrick Mwaungulu’s 31st minute strike through substitute Christopher Kumwembe in the 46th minute.
Though the trophyless Wanderers needed it more than Bullets who have already bagged the TNM Super League and FDH Bank Cup and are in Airtel Top 8 final, the Nomads started the match on the wrong foot.
They were second on the ball as Bullets dictated the proceedings in a match which was delayed for 30 minutes due to a heavy downpour.
Bullets showed more hunger as they went in to take the lead through Mwaungulu who fired home from outside penalty area after a beautiful set from Maxwell Gastin Phodo, beating William Thole in Nomads goals.
Bullets continued to torment their opponents who started panicking and never settled down more especially in the middle of the park where their rivals were in total control through the Previous Phiri, Enerst Petro, Mwaungulu and Stanley Billiat.
In response, Wanderers coach made triple substitutions in the 42nd minute, bringing in Francisco Madinga, Kumwembe and Vitumbiko Kumwenda to replace Mischeck Botoman, Mphatso Kamanga and Vincent Nyangulu.
The substitutions had an impact soon after recess as Wanderers levelled through Kumwembe with a bicycle kick.
Wanderers continued to improve their play, creating some good chances but lacked precision in front of goal.
Bullets on the other hand, ensured they did not concede as they closed all spaces for the Nomads.
Zimbabwean tactician Kallisto Pasuwa also made some changes as he opted for containment and eventual post-match penalties.
In 74th minute, he introduced goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba to replace injured Rabson Chiyenda.
Ephraim Kondowe also replaced Phodo.
His counterpart made another substitution as well by introducing Francis Nkonda for Balikinho Mwakanyango.
Bullets responded by throwing in Hassan Kajoke and McFarlen Mgwira for Lanjesi Nkhoma and Billiat.
With the match set for penalties Wanderers also opted to introduce veteran goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa for Thole.
In post-match penalties, Wanderers missed two spot kicks through captain Stanley Sanudi and Kumwenda while Cholopi and Nkonda converted theirs.
Bullets on the other hand, converted theirs through Yamikani Fodya, Kajoke, Clyde Seneji and Precious Phiri who netted the decisive spot kick.
In post-match interviews Harrison blamed his charges for taking long to get into the game.
“First-half we were second best in everything. Every department. We never got into the game.
“Second-half we were a lot better. As the game went on we got stronger. We have lost on penalties. It’s disappointing, of course. It could have gone either way. We haven’t lost in regulation time. We missed two penalties that’s why we have lost,” he said.
Pasuwa on his part applauded his charges for making into yet another final in chase for quadruple.
“They believe in themselves. They believe it can be done,” he said.
Bullets will meet Silver Strikers in the final.