- Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 20:20
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter
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TOWERING striker Abdallah Juma came off the bench to inspire Mainland champions, Simba to a convincing 3-0 win over Ports of Djibouti in an entertaining CECAFA Kagame Cup Group A match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Juma entered the fray at the restart and scored a brace, which was sandwiched by Felix Sunzu’s strike from the spot kick as Simba roared to a well deserved victory that revived their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the regional championship.
The 2011 finalists, Simba, had their work cut out for them after a wobbly start in this year’s campaign where they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of impressive URA of Uganda. Simba knew absolutely well they needed nothing short of victory against a Ports side that suffered a humiliating 7-0 defeat at the hands of Vita Club of Congo in their opening match.
Their Serbian coach Milovan Cirkovic made three changes to his starting line-up, with centre back pairing of Juma Nyosso and Obadia Mungusa giving way to Lino Musombo and Shomari Kapombe, while Haruna Moshi replaced Danny Mrwanda upfront.
The game started at a low tempo and it was Ports that made first attempt on goal and forced a futile corner kick in the third minute. But Simba steadily started to stamp their authority on the game, dictating the tempo, with Ports forced to defend deep against the wave of red shirts and relieve pressure on the counter whenever they could.
The first meaningful chance, however, went the Ports’ way when its striker, Omary Mohamed, received a nice ball just inside the 18-yard box but failed to hit the target with an ambitious drive that flew well wide.
Simba showed more energy with the team’s midfield trio of Mudde Mussa, Mwinyi Kazimoto and Patrick Mbiyavanga engineering most of their side’s attacks.
They should have taken the lead half way through the first half when striker Felix Sunzu was sent clear into Ports box by Musa Mudde, however, the Zambian striker, who was guilty of squandering a lot of chances yesterday, attempted a tame shot that was easily collected by goalkeeper Khalid Ali.
Simba kept pushing for opening goal and Congolese defender, Mosombo sent a header narrowly wide from a corner kick before Sunzu failed to connect with Amri Kiemba’s inviting cross from the right.
Sunzu managed to find space once more in the area following a clever ball by Moshi, but Ports keeper was quick off his line to clear the danger. Mudde, then, drew a fine save from Ali with a well-taken free kick from outside the 18-yard box in the 42nd minute and the two teams proceeded into the dressing rooms tied to a barren draw.
On resumption, Cirkovic made some tactical changes as he brought in Nyosso and Juma, who replaced Haruna Shamte and Amri Kiemba respectively. Kapombe moved to the right with Nyoso partnering Musombo at the heart of defence, while Juma joined Sunzu and Kazimoto upfront.
The changes added more urgency in Simba’s attacks and Juma went close shortly after coming on as he made a good run into the box only to be denied by a fine save by goalkeeper at the near post. Sunzu wasted two more opportunities before Juma showed him how it is done, breaking the deadlock in the hour mark, with a clinical finish from a close range.
Mudde was the architect, threading in Kazimoto on the overlap down the right, who curled a low cross that was connected home by Juma at the near post. Ports, to their credit, did not allow Simba to walk all over them after the opener, and were able to carve some half chances of their own.
Four minutes later Sunzu notched the second for Simba from the spot-kick awarded to Simba after the team’s defender deliberately attempted to block Kazimoto’s audacious lob using his hand. Juma missed a sitter, one that will definitely contend for miss of the tournament.
Goalie Ali fumbled with the ball just outside the area, gifting it to the Simba striker, who however, raced to a tight angle failed to convert the chance with the empty net at his mercy.
He however, made amend for his miss after scoring the third goal with a thumping header off a wonderful cross delivered by Kapombe from the right. URA of Uganda, meanwhile, qualified into the last eight and moved top of the group with a 3-1 win over Vita Club of DR Congo in an early kick-off match played at the same venue.