Simba SC players

NSA Job first half strike sent shocking waves as eight men Villa Squad inflicted a surprising 1-0 defeat upon Mainland Premier League leaders Simba SC at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

The result saw Simba failing to open a six-point lead at the top of the table, however; still left the giants ahead of the second placed Yanga. Simba are still enjoying the driver’s seat with 34 points from 16 matches, having won 10 games, claimed draw in four and lost only two.

Three more points from the Saturday game were bound to help the Msimbazi Street side tighten its grip on the top spot but the Msimbazi Street side was left to rue wasted opportunity. Not even the introduction of Gervais Kago, Juma Jabu and Salum Machaku in the second half could inspire Simba to the victory their Serbian coach Milovan Circovic craved. And it was Job, who was the surprise match-winner when he finished off a terrific move in the 40th minute of the game to snatch victory for the Magomeni side, who are however still below the relegation zone on 13 point, sitting 13 on the table from 16 matches.

The two sides attacked in turns right from the kick off and there were close chances on either side. Simba’s first good chance came on the 16th minute when they won penalty after midfielder Mwinyi Kazimoto was trapped inside  the box but striker Emmanuel Okwi missed the spot kick. Okwi had another good chance a minute later, after he was released outside Villa penalty area but his powerful shot was saved by Villa keeper Daud Mwasongwe.

Villa scored the opener five minutes before the break through former Simba and Yanga striker, who easily headed home a cross whipped inside the area by right back Malika Ndeule from the right side. The lowly Magomeni based side continued to trouble Simba particularly on the right side for the rest of the half and took a surprise 1-0 lead to the dressing room. Simba could have drawn level on resumption but substitute Gervais Kago failed to connect cross from the right as he was sliding in close to the left post of Villa goal.

Villa were reduced to ten men on the 66th minute after centre back Cyprian Lukindo was shown red card for head butting Kago in a scuffle. Then another Villa player Cosmas Lewis was given marching orders for a second bookable offence. Simba pressed for the equalizer thereafter, and Okwi shot wide from inside the box after dribbling past defenders on the 80th minute. Cirkovic, was full of praise for his side during the last Wednesday match against Arusha’s JKT Oljoro at the National Stadium and, for that matter, Simba players were not expected to disappoint their coach on Saturday.

With Cirkovic also keeping an eye on strengthening his side’s performance ahead of the forthcoming CAF Confederation Cup match against SC Kiyovu of Rwanda, nothing but better performance from his players yesterday was bound to boost the coach’s confidence as he waits for the continental assignment. Simba badly missed the services of their influential midfielder, Haruna Moshi ‘Boban’, who is serving a three-match suspension after he was shown red card in the Oljoro game for kicking the latter’s defender, Ally Omar.

For Villa Squad, the on Saturday match was a crucial opportunity to attempt to get out of the relegation trap and a win was the better way to realize their plan.  Simba’s closest challengers and rivals, Yanga, will not be in action until Wednesday this week, when they host fifth-placed Mtibwa Sugar at the National Stadium in the league’s only match of the day and that gives Simba chance to widen the points’ gap.

By JAPHETH KAZENGA, Tanzania Daily News

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