Dar es Salaam. In-form Simba have one hand on a first Mainland Premier League trophy in five years after a 2-0 win against Tanzania Prisons yesterday.
The convincing victory, the 17th for the Msimbazi Reds this season, stretched their lead over their bitter rivals Young Africans to 11 points.
On a rain-swept afternoon at the National Stadium, Simba, commanding the proceedings with their usual fluidity, enjoyed the lion’s share of the match.
But they had trouble in breaking down Prisons’ defence as the visitors defended solidly and rarely looked like conceding in the first six minutes.
The Msimbazi Reds ought to have gone one up in the seventh minute when Shiza Kichuya’s close range forced goalkeeper Aron Kalambo to dive full length to save it.
Another chance for Simba to break the deadlock came in the 31st minute when Emmanuel Okwi’s sizzling shot was parried off by Kalambo for an abortive corner.
John Bocco sent Simba fans at the 60,000-seater venue into wild celebrations in the 35th minute when he beat goalie Kalambo with a diving header for a 1-0 half time lead.
The goal, the 14th for Bocco, was initiated by Erasto Nyoni, who cleverly beat two players on the left flank before placing the ball to scorer.
In the 78th minute, Bocco was brought down in the penalty box by Jumanne Elfadhil, and the referee never hesitated in awarding Simba a penalty.
Okwi made no mistake with it, sending the Prisons goalkeeper the wrong way to double the hosts’ lead, his 19th goal of the season.
At Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba, hosts Kagera Sugar beat Mtibwa Sugar 2-1, while hosts Ndanda FC succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Ruvu Shooting at Nangwanda Sijaona venue in Mtwara.
Simba: Aishi Manula, Shomary Kapombe, Mohammed Hussein, Juuko Murshid, Yusuph Mlipili, Erasto Nyoni, Shiza Kichuya, Jonas Mkude, John Bocco, Emmanuel Okwi, Asante Kwasi.
Prisons: Aron Kalambo, Benjamini Asukile, Leonis Mtalemwa, James Mwasote, Nurdin Chona, Jumanne Elfadhil, Salum Kimenya, Cleophace Mkandala/Ramadhani Ibata (43th), Mohamed Rashid, Freddy Chudu and Eliuta Mpepo