SIMBA and Young Africans title race campaign hit snag yesterday after both teams lost their matches in the Mainland Premier League. Even without playing good football, Kagera Sugar managed to beat Simba 1-0 in a strange circumstance at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, while Yanga lost to ten men Biashara United by the same margin at the Karume Stadium in Musoma.
For Mecky Maxime charges, it marked a hattrick of victories over Simba in their recent league matches, a feat no any other top flight club has achieved against an in form Patrick Aussems’ side. Kagera Sugar registered the victory barely three weeks after inflicting a painful 2-1 defeat over Simba in the first round league match at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba.
Again, the Bukoba lads were the only side that beat Simba last season, with a 1-0 win in front of President John Magufuli at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. In 2016/17 Kagera Sugar also cost Simba the title, after inflicting a painful 2-1 defeat at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba, in which Simba had to appeal to FIFA that their opponents fielded an ineligible player. In fact, in the last 12 outings between the two teams, Kagera Sugar has won six times, same as Simba while they drew twice.
Much as Kagera Sugar ended 12 matches winning run for Simba three weeks ago, they have again managed to end Simba’s good run as they were undefeated in seven successive matches. However, despite the defeat, the Msimbazi Street giants remained top of the pile with 81 points from 32 outing, one ahead of the second placed Yanga, who have played 35 matches. Kagera Sugar moved ninth of the log on 43 points from 35 outings.
They are tied with Tanzania Prisons at eighth place but separated on goal difference. In the yesterday’s encounter, Aussems charges were seeking for nothing but revenge and win to maintain their grip of the top spot, while Kagera Sugar were out to confirm their superiority over Simba and battle to climb away from the relegation zone. It was a strong start from Simba as they pushed forward for an early opener and in the 17th minute, Emmanuel Okwi drifted his shot well wide.
In the 22nd minute, Mohamed Hussein, who scored an own goal curved his set piece wide. Then, in the 32nd minute, outstanding goalkeeper Said Kipao timely blocked Hassan Dilunga’s cross as Okwi and Meddie Kagere were lurking in the box. In the 39th minute, Dilunga strode past defenders but his fierce shot was blocked by well-placed goalkeeper. And, Simba were punished for their ineptness four minutes before the interval, when assistant skipper, Hussein scored a bizarre own goal as he failed to communicate with goalie Aishi Manula.
The defender attempted to control a cross in by striker Paul Ngaliyoma but the ball came off his legs and rolled into the nets as Manula also came out of his line. After the break, midfielder Clatous Chama replaced Mohammed Ibrahim and immediately after the restart, Chama set up Kagere, whose shot flew over the bar. Simba were pressing hard, and in the 52nd minute, Okwi exchanged a neat one two passes with Dilunga but his final shot sailed agonizingly wide.
With time running out for Simba, Rashid Juma replaced Dilunga. Then, a clean penetration pass from Yusuf Mlipili in the 67th minute, found substitute Juma in space but the youthful attacker failed to keep his composure, driving his shot wide.
Two minutes later Zana Coulibaly also drove his shot wide. Simba made their final substitution with Jonas Mkude replacing James Kotei, while Ngaliyoma was replaced by Majid Khamis. However, goalkeeper, Kipao remained a huge obstacle for Simba strikers, as he made a number of fine saves to deny Okwi, Kagere and Juma. In Musoma, Yanga lost to host Biashara United, whose lone goal was scored in the ninth minute by Tariq Seif.
The scorer broke offside trap and pumped the ball into the net past goalkeeper, Klaus Kindoki. Biashara United suffered a blow in the dying minutes of the game after skipper, Lenny Kisu was given marching orders after a scuffle with Yanga‘s Mrisho Ngasa. The victory lifted Biashara United to 17th position above JKT Tanzania, who dropped to 18th position.