Tuesday, March 7
*Simba (Tanzania) 1-0 Vipers (Uganda)
*Horoya (Guinea) 1-3 Raja Casablanca (Morocco)
Group C Table
- Raja Casablanca 🇲🇦 – 12pts
- Simba 🇹🇿 – 6
- Horoya 🇬🇳 – 4
- Vipers 🇺🇬 – 1
Vipers suffered their third loss in CAF Champions League after a 1-0 defeat at Simba at Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Dar Es Salaam.
Clatous Chama scored the only goal of the game when he left Livingston Mulondo for dead before slotting past Alfred Mudekereza at the stroke of halftime.
The hosts created a couple of chances and could have won by a better margin but Mudekereza was outstanding in Vipers goal.
Vipers battled hard, and improved in the second half, but couldn’t get an elusive goal.
They will however feel hard done by the fact that Yunus Sentamu’s goal, just after restart, was wrongly cancelled for offside.
Substitute Abubakar Lawal had a good opportunity to find a late equaliser but the Nigerian’s back-heel was poor, weak, and easily collected by Simba goalkeeper Aisha Manula.
It was a commendable show for the Venoms altogether but still not good enough as their wait for a goal stretches to eight games in a row.
The defeat leaves Vipers with just a point to show in four games, with a daunting home game against Raja(March 18) and a trip to Horoya (March 31) still on the cards.
And they have to win both games to have a slim chance of reaching the knockouts!
Raja have already booked their place in the knockout after beating Horoya 3-1.
Mudekereza Outstanding in Vipers Defeat
Vipers best player on the pitch was without doubt their goalkeeper Alfred Mudekereza, and that clear paints a picture of how proceedings unfolded in the contest.
Mudekereza’s place in goal has been under threat since that horrific show against Raja Casablanca after he gave away two cheap goals.
But his performance in Dar was vintage and kept Vipers in the game throughout.
He made two early saves in the opening five minutes, both against Pape Sakho, including the first where he came out and sprawled on the ground.
And he pulled a one-hand save to send Ntibazonkiza Saidi’s close range effort over the bar, after his defence was beaten by Simba’s quick passing.
And in the second half, he was equally brilliant, denying goal scorer Chama a double with a reflex save.
Vipers had some good moments up front but failed to find an opening.
Lumala Abdu was denied early in the first half with a keeper to beat but Lawal’s chance inside the box in the 89th minute was the side’s best chance to find a goal only for the Striker to go for a back heel that was easily saved.
Yunus had a quiet night, and he was earlier booked for simulation in the first half, but when his moment arrived few seconds into the second half, he swept away a good finish after racing behind the defence, only for the assistant referee to wrongly call for an offside.
It’s three defeats in four games in CAF Champions League for Vipers, and they will shift their focus now to Uganda Cup where they visit Wakiso Giants on March 15 at Wakissha.
Simba Back and Alive
With Raja Casablanca through to the knockout, one slot is left for Group C.
Simba have moved second with six points after a double over Vipers, having won by a similar score-line at Kitende.
And their next two group games are against Horoya (Home) and Raja Casablanca (Morocco).
A win against Horoya will send them to nine points, and through to the knockout!
It has been a huge turnaround for the Tanzanians who had just a point after two games.
And the double-header victory against Vipers has given them a fighting stance.
They reached the knockout last season, and a return to the table of men will surely be another big achievement for the Msimbazi.
They were the better side on the night, but wasted some good opportunities to kill off the game, a thing that might worry underfire coach Roberto Oliveira
Saidi Ntibazonkiza fired wide with a goal at his mercy, and he later rattled onto the crossbar.
Chama could have finished with a hat-trick on the night – He rounded off Mudekereza, beat Ashraf Mandela but couldn’t find space from a tight angle. And moments later, he failed to beat the keeper when he was picked from inside the area.
And the final whistle was greeted with huge celebrations by a sizeable crowd, and this team can now dream.
Simba – Aishi Manala, Pape Sakho, Shomari Kapombe, Sadio Kanoute, Mohamed Hussein, Joash Onyango, Clatous Chama, Yassin Mzamiru, Moses Phiri, Henock Baka, Saidi Ntibazonkiza
Vipers – Alfred Mudekereza, Livingston Mulondo, Siraje Sentamu, Ibrahim Orit, Yunus Sentamu, Hilary Mukundane, Ashraf Mandela, Lumala Abdu, Isa Mubiru, Olivier Osomba, Karim Watambala