After four failed attempts, FCB Nyasa Bullets yesterday broke the first hurdle jinx to qualify for the first round of the CAF Champions League after booting out Dragon FC of Equatorial Guinea 3-0 on aggregate.
The People’s Team, who won the first leg 0-2 away in Malabo last week, sealed their qualification to the next round with a 1-0 victory at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe yesterday.
Bullets will now face the elite continental club showpiece’s five-time champions Tout Puissant (TP) Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo with the first leg scheduled for between September 15 and 17 at home and the return leg slated for September 29-October 1.
Bullets coach Kallisto Pasuwa said he was happy that his team finally got it right.
Kondowe celebrates scoring the lone goal that sealed Bullets’ qualification
He said: “The players played with determination and worked hard. It was not an easy game. I am happy that now we are progressing to the next round. After so many disappointments, I am really happy.”
Ephraim Kondowe, who is turning into Bullets’ super substitute, scored the lone goal in the 67th minute, barely three minutes after his introduction.
It originated from a counter-attack in which Lanjesi Nkhoma was the architect and after an exchange of passes, Kondowe provided the final flourish.
The huge crowd in the stadium erupted into joyous celebrations with Bullets red and white colours more prominent in the stands as they waved flags and scarves.
Bullets started aggressively as they sought to get it over and done with kill in the first half. They created a plethora of chances, but failed to make them count.
The first chance fell to Clyde Senaji in the 14th minute. He was unmarked in the box and close to the goal line, but he headed over the bar from a Chawanangwa Gumbo cut back.
Bullets survived a scare in the 16th minute when Jose Luis Etoha Chon’s long range effort forced a fumbled save from Richard Chimbamba, but luckily for Bullets no player from the opposition was anywhere near to provide the final touch.
Dragon FC were unfortunate not to score in the 22nd minute. Chimbamba gifted an opposition player the ball on the left side but the Dragon FC winger shot wide with the goal open.
Bullets continued to press and in the 34th minute, Senaji set up Anthony Mfune, but Dragon goalkeeper Gustave Guirlele was well positioned to tame the threat.
With nine minutes before recess Yamikani Fodya’s free kick nearly went in had not been the reflex action and agility of Gustave Guirlele who parried it over the bar for a corner.