Azam upset Simba
The victory was a sweet revenge for the ice cream makers who went down to the holders by 2-1 goals in the first leg match played at their Mkwakwani Stadium base in Tanga on September 11 last year.
Simba broke the stalemate through Nicodemus Nyagawa who connected home Rashid Gumbo’s through pass despite tight marking by Azam defender Aggrey Morris.
Azam came back strongly as their striker John Boko leaped over Simba defending duo of Juma Nyoso and Meshak Abel to head home the equaliser, five minutes later.
The rejuvenated Azam recovered from the shock as their ace striker Mrisho Ngasa rounded off defender Juma Nyoso before scoring past on-rushing goalkeeper Juma Kaseja after 23 minutes to take the lead.
Ngasa scored against the run of play as Simba striker Musa Hassan threw overboard the best opportunity to retake the lead four minutes earlier.
Simba players fought hard for an equaliser throughout the rest of the first half but profligate finish halted their efforts.
Simba coach Patrick Phiri replaced Nicodemus Nyanagwa for new sign up Ali Ahmed at the start of the second half.
Ahmed who is popularly known as Shiboli made an instant impact when he forced Azam goalkeeper Vladmir Niyonkuru to full stretch save five minutes before Azam scored their luckiest goal of the season
Simba’s custodian Juma Kaseja would take years to forget the most outstanding bad luck of his entire career when he kicked a ball that curled back into the goal in frantic efforts to clear, as Azam extended the lead with two goals cushion, nine minutes after resumption.
Azam played an enterprising and well coordinated football for most of the second half as Simba tried both ends against the middle to make a comeback.
Simba’s Kenyan import Hilary Echesa reduced the margin three minutes to time as Azam defenders were caught in a mix-up.
Echesa scored three minutes after Musa Hassan made full stretch efforts to release a blockbuster that was expertly saved by Azam’s Burundi custodian, Vladmir Niyonkuru.
Promoted Police Dodoma were the first top flight side this season to halt Simba’s 30 premiership match unbeaten run on September 19 at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza.
The cops from the Tanzanian capital play Simba’s rival Yanga at the Uhuru Stadium tomorrow.
Yanga are still on top of the standings table with 28 points opening a point-gap over Simba.
Azam have now romped to the third place with 23 points, just one over Mtibwa Sugar who still have a match in hand.
Vladmir Niyonkuru, Ibrahim Shikanda, Mutesa Mafisango, Erasto Nyoni, Aggrey Morrid, Ibrahim Mwaipopo, Jamal Mnyate/Himid Mao, Salum Aboubakar, John Boko/ Peter Ssenyonjo, Ramadhan Chombo and mrisho Ngasa.
Juma Kaseja, Haruna Shamte, Amir Maftah/Juma Jabu, Meshak Abel, Juma Nyoso, Jerry Santo, Rashid Gumbo/Mohamed Banka, Hilary Echesa, Patrick Ochan, Musa Hassan and Nicodemus Nyagawa/ Ali Ahmed.