By McLloyd Kudzingo
Stuart Mbunge scored from the spot in the added time to settle the 2018 Airtel Top 8 Cup final in Blue Eagles’ favour, crowning the corps as champions with a 1-0 victory over Nyasa Big Bullets at the Bingu National Stadium (BNS).
Eagles’ Airtel Top 8 meeting with Bullets evoked memories of the 1995 cup final between the sides when Blue Eagles players took home a 2-0 victory against the ‘People’s’ team to win the Chibuku Cup.
Blue Eagles were the first to settle in the first half, making a number of attacks but Bullets defense led by Miracle Gabeya and Bashir Maunde managed to contain the pressure.
Bullets then managed to settle and played very well in the last 15 minutes of the first half with Chiukepo Msowoya and Fisher Kondowe trying to threaten the corps’ security but their defenders were very solid at the back.
The second half continued in a similar vein. Bullets looked the better team but were unable to capitalise on chances while Blue Eagles created real danger on their occasional forays forward.
Bullets made a number of changes and the notable one being the substitution of goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda who was replaced by Ernest Kakhobwe in anticipation for penalties.
However Blue Eagles had a different thought as they pressurized Bullets towards the end of the match and managed to win a penalty in the 92nd minute after a foul on Gilbert Chirwa by Yamikani Fodya.
Mbunge converted the penalty to shutter Bullets’ dreams of becoming the second team to win the K15 million cash prize.
After the game, there were ugly scenes at BNS as Bullets supporters threw missiles while some ran onto the pitch to attack the officiating personnel.
On the other hand Blue Eagles supporters also invaded the pitch to celebrate the victory that has ended six years of cup drought.
Eagles have become the only team to win the Airtel Top 8 without conceding a goal.
Silver Strikers were the inaugural winners of the prestigious cup when they won the title for beating Be Forward Wanderers 10-9 on post match penalties after the two team were deadlocked after regulation time.