Blantyre based Nyasa big bullets held on to a 1-0 away lead, Forcing AmaZulu South Africa’s ‘DSTV’ premier league Veterans to a losing start to their CAF campaign.
Despite the pressure pilling up in the 1st half, Bullets took the lead following the opening half-hour mark after Chiukepo Msowoya pounced on a goalkeeping error by Veli Mothwa.
The joy lasted for a few minutes as a strong challenge near the danger area by Yamikani Fodya led to his red card which resulted into Big Bullets to finish the half with ten players Usuthu should’ve been level ahead of halftime after a flowing move down the right freed in Maduna, who hoofed Lehlohonolo Majoro’s cutback over the top from close-range.
Big Bullets had nothing else to do rather than defending their single goal lead hence sacrificing the goal-scorer and former Orlando Pirates striker Msowoya. for Precious Phiri before the interval.
Amazulu wasted another big chance two minutes after halftime with a header from close-range by substitute Siphelele Mthembu, but the lanky forward headed over the top.
The host kept piling on the pressure inside the final stages in the hope of getting a way back, but Memela and Philani Zulu’s adventures led to absolute naught whilst having a goal disallowed.
Late drama had Usuthu’s Keagan Buchanan striking the woodwork twice from two close-range attempts, while Tapelo Xoki spurned a free-kick, as Bullets stunned AmaZulu.
Meanwhile the battle is far from over, but it will take a committed effort, and AmaZulu taking their chances, if they are to bounce back from the setback in the second leg at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on September 18.
Speaking to a Timeslive reporter Ben said “When teams analyse our teams they only worry about the technicality of the game, the speed, because obviously SA players are smaller and we’re agile and versatile and quick with little one twos,” said McCarthy. “You don’t prepare for the physicality because it’s not the SA football game.
“But for us when we analyse teams on the continent it’s impossible to analyse any team without worrying about physicality. And ja, that’s the first thing that I’ve spotted. The size of their team … they’re quite a big boys.
“I’m guessing if I’m a wise guy they’ll come here and probably hope for a very subtle result. Maybe they’re not going win the game but if they lose by one goal or they get a draw, then by there (Malawi) they’ll look to try to go for it.
“So the physicality part will come and so we’ll have to be a little bit smart. I’ll have to think what will be the best for my players. You bring in versatility, speed, trickiness, a bit of flair because that’s the worst thing for a bigger oke to face. McCarthy concluded.