Simba SC head coach, Milovan Cirkovic

The hosts needed second half goals from their foreign professionals, Ugandan Emmanuel Okwi and Zambian Felix Sunzu, to silence the Algerians and bolster their chances of securing ticket to the next round of the second major continental club competition. “I know it (the return leg match) will be a very difficult match but we will be more tactical”, said the Serbian tactician in his assessment of the possible opposition Simba will likely encounter in Algeria after the next two weeks.

Cirkovic hinted that his side will have to arrive in Algeria a bit earlier with a view to acclimatize to the cold weather currently prevailing in the North African country and consequently stand up to the hosts’ challenge. “We will arrive in Algeria three days before the match to acclimatize to the country’s weather”, he said.

Cirkovic admitted the Sunday match was extremely tough for Simba in the first half considering that they were up against unknown opponents and, therefore, had to study the latter’s game plan as time ticked by before mounting a serious challenge in the second half. “For us, we played against a very strong team.

It was difficult in the first half because we did not know the opponents”, he said. Despite playing cautiously in the first half, Simba missed several good chances that could have helped to weaken Setif’s resolve early on, had the hosts fully exploited the chances. Okwi wasted almost three chances from inside Setif penalty area, in which he twice headed over the crossbar when attempting to connect a cross and corner kick from the lively Salum Machaku, who happened to be a constant menace to the Setif defence down the left.

The Ugandan then could only attempt a poor lob, which went way off the target, as he was completing a move started by midfielder Mwinyi Kazimoto midway through the first half that saw plenty of action on either end. Setif put more men in the midfield whilst leaving Youssef Sofiane as the lone striker, who however failed to make the expected impact thanks to determination by Simba defenders, who cancelled out all moves intended for the striker.

Sofiane, though, managed to threaten Simba defence at times with his pace and that forced central defenders, Juma Nyoso and Kelvin Yondani, to keep a more watchful eye on the Algerian for the rest of the half.  Setif could have posed a rather bigger threat to Simba had the former made good use of speedy players, Youcef Ghezzali and Abderrahmane Hachoud, down either flank.

The duo managed to showcase flashes of their virtuosity by occasionally outfoxing Simba wingbacks, Shomari Kapombe and Amir Maftah, and whipped in good crosses that, however, went begging.  The Algerian side then settled for a defensive approach in the second half, but the approach backfired as Simba capitalized on their lion’s share of possession to bang in the two crucial goals.

Despite conceding the goals, Setif looked dangerous on counter attacks and came close to notching a consolation goal deep in the half, when substitute, Akram Djanit, unleashed a dipping shot from almost 25 metres but his attempt went inches wide off the left post, with Simba keeper, Juma Kaseja, already beaten.

That, certainly, looked to be the biggest concern to Cirkovic: “We were attacking much and left some gaps in the defence and that made us prone to counter attacks”, he said.

Source Tanzania Daily News


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