Young Africans Ugandan striker Hamis Kiiza (centre-background), celebrate with his teammates, Shadrack Nsajigwa (centreforeground), Godfrey Taita (right) and Kigi Makassy (left) after scoring the winning goal against Villa Squad during the Vodacom Premier League match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday. Yanga won 1-0. (Photo by Fadhili Akida).

Ugandan striker Hamis Kiiza notched a last-minute winner to secure the title holders their second back-back 1-0 win, which lifted Kostadin Papic’s team back to second position in the league table with 43 points from 20 games.

The defeat has complicated Villa Squad’s situation. Thus, with only six matches to play, the Magomeni-based side remain rooted at the  bottom of the 14-team league table on 16 points from 20 matches.

The game was lively right from the start in which both sides had chances to test goalkeepers at either end but the chances were not fully utilized. Yanga had two opportunities midway through the half, which could have helped them stay ahead but they wasted both.

The best saw midfielder, Haruna Niyonzima, whip a cross from the left only to see striker Davies Mwape, dilly dally with the ball inside the box to give Villa defenders chance to clear the danger. Villa reacted with a swift attack shortly before the breather and saw their penalty appeal quashed when skipper and right fullback, Shadrack Nsajigwa clattered on Villa winger, Joseph Mahundi, inside the box as the former was clearing danger. The two sides thus shared the spoils with a barren draw at the breather.

Yanga were slightly unsettled with a couple of attacks by Villa on resumption but then the former wasted two good chances on the 58th and 59th minutes when striker Kenneth Asamoah failed to finish off crosses floated in from either flanks.  Mwape prolonged the misses on the 70th minute when he failed to bang in a cross by substitute Kigi Makasi from the left.

Villa narrowly missed a chance to notch the opener on the 77th minute as striker Martin Lupert was released on the edge of the box but his low shot went inches wide. Yanga pressured Villa in the closing stags and got the winner in the stoppage time through Kiiza who finished off to complete a move initiated by Godfrey Taita from the right.

The winners continued to attack thereafter but their attempts were futile to eventually take the slender but crucial 1-0 win. Victory remained the better way for Yanga to keep alive hopes of successful title retention considering that the Jangwani Street side had somewhat put their chances in jeopardy after conceding a 3-1 defeat to Azam FC on March 10, this year.

Elsewhere, Said Sued scored from the spot to earn home team Coastal Union a1-0 win over JKT Oljoro 1-0 at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga. The win moved Coastal Union, which is under the tutelage of Jamhuri Kihwelo, to seventh position in the league after reaching 26 points from 20 outings. League leaders, Simba, will confront Mtibwa Sugar at Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro today, in which the former need nothing short of victory to maintain a considerable points’ gap with both Azam FC and Yanga.

The Msimbazi Street side presence at the top of the standing will definitely be under pressure should the team either manage a draw or lose to their hosts and that makes the assignment as important as ever in the title chase. Simba have so far collected 44 points from 20 games. Second-placed Azam FC will also be in action today as they host Ruvu Shooting Stars at the former’s venue at Chamazi, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.

This is yet another match whose results stand to change the course of the race particularly if Simba lose to Mtibwa Sugar. With Azam still pursuing the maiden title in the domestic top flight, the team is expected to cover every blade of grass in search of victory over Ruvu and that forces Simba to equally play their hearts out with a view to keeping the ice cream makers in check.

By JAPHETH KAZENGA, Tanzania Daily News

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