3 August 2015

Malawi: Vincent Gona's Heroics a Turning Point in Bullets's Victory

He had never saved a penalty for Malawi's Big Bullets in previous cup matches but on Sunday afternoon at Civo Stadium, Vincent Gona proved his doubters wrong when he saved two crucial spot kicks against Mafco to send his team into the 2015 Carlsberg Cup semi-finals.

The regulation time ended 1-all, with Gona conceding a silly goal in the first half but the former Azam Tigers shot-stopper recovered well to save the decisive Hassan Chapola's penalty which was enough to seal victory for the Salima based Soldiers.

Last year, at the same venue, Bullets exited the Standard Bank Cup when they lost 7-6 to Airborne Rangers on penalties as Gona failed to make a single attempt no wonder lot's of Bullets supporters were doubting their goal custodian when the referee Mabvuto Msimuko blew his final whistle for the match to be decided on post match penalties.

When Bashir Maunde missed his spot kick for Bullets, Chapola almost sealed the victory but Gona stood up and produced a fantastic save to bring back Bullets into the game.

As if that was not enough, Gona made another save, this time around, saving a Martin Masoatheka's penalty which gave Dalitso Sailesi all the time in the World to score the winning penalty ending.

To others, Sailesi was the hero of the day but realistically, Gona's last penalty save to deny Chapola was the decisive moment to all Bullets faithful no wonder his heroics didn't go un noticed.

His coach, who will be saying goodbye to Bullets next week to start his new role as Flames assistant coach, Nswazurimo Ramadhan hailed Gona for carrying the day for Bullets.

"After conceding such a silly goal, Gona did well by saving those two penalties and let me admit that the first penalty save was too desicive to our team," said Ramadhan.

Bullets fans will leave to remember that on 2nd August 2015, Gona held out his nerves and saved two penalties to send Bullets into the last four of the Carlsberg Cup.

He might have failed to save penalties in previous attempts but on Sunday afternoon, he showed the nation as to why he remains Big Bullets's first choice goalkeeper ahead of Owen Chaima and Chimwemwe Kumkwawa.


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