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Simba down holders Wydad in CAF Champions League

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Simba SC players celebrate their goal against Wydad. PHOTO/Simba
  • John Beleke scored the lone goal in Dar es Salaam
  • The second leg will be played in Casablanca next weekend
  • Esperance beat JS Kabylie in another match

Tanzanian giants Simba SC picked a 1-0 win at home, earning a slim advantage over defending champions Wydad Athletic Club in the first leg of the CAF Champions League quarter final in Dar es Salaam.

Wekundu wa Msimbazi ensured their home support counted for much, as they earned the win to give themselves a foothold heading into next weekend’s return fixture. John Beleke’s first half goal gave the Tanzanian giants the much-needed home ground victory and will have all to work for in the return fixture in Casablanca next weekend.

Simba ensured they consolidated a win at home after a good performance, and would have made the score even wider had they finished the chances they had.

Beleke scored the winning goal on the half hour mark when he did well to turn home a Dennis Kibu ball into the net. The goal gave Simba improved confidence and they played with more  command, powered by the partisan home crowd.

After the break, Wydad and their head coach Juan Carlos Garrido made changes as they tried to rally back, but they couldn’t get their act together in the final third.Simba could have added a second at the tail end of the game when Clatous Chama had a glorious opportunity, but the Zambian international could not hit the target.

Esperance beat Kabylie 

Elsewhere, Tunisia’s Esperance drew first blood in their duel against Algeria’s JS Kabylie, winning 1-0.

Mohamed Ali Ben Hammouda notched the vital goal in the second half to give Taraji the slim advantage heading into next weekend’s corresponding fixture in Rades. Hammouda scored 10 minutes after the restart thanks to some quick thinking by Hamdou Elhouni who quickly started a throw in sending his teammate through into the box.

The forward made no mistake, curling the ball beyond the keeper to break the deadlock. The home side would feel hardly undone by the goal as they had the most and the best of scoring chances especially in the first half.

In the 28th minute, they had a good chance when Mohamed Boumechra saw his a strike at goal saved after a brilliant cutback from Kouceila Boualia. Five minutes later Boualia had his turn with a shot at goal when he took a great curling effort on target, but it was blocked for a corner.

In the second half, just after going ahead, Esperance did well to seal their single goal advantage. The home side, pushed on by a partisan home crowd in Algiers threw everything to draw level.

In the dying minutes of the game, they had an opportunity to draw level when substitute Mustapha Alili wriggled his way past a forest of legs on the left, but his shot was blocked well by the keeper.

Kabylie’s efforts with six added minutes couldn’t conjure a draw, and will now have their work cut out heading to next weekend’s return fixture on enemy territory.

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