Holders Simba intensified their inexorable quest to lead the Mainland premiership after breezing past visiting JKT Oljoro by 4-1 goals in their first leg match played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The sixth round has seen the league champions opening a three-point gap over second placed Azam FC who still has a game in hand.
Amri Kiemba opened the score sheet for Simba after 16 minutes when he was put through by Edward Christopher to shake the visitors early on.
Simba resorted to complacency while the visitors worked hard to come back into the game.
It was their striker Paul Nonga capitalised on Simba’s defensive laxity when he intercepted a poor back pass to pull an equaliser after 30 minutes, beating goalkeeper Juma Kaseja with remarkable ease.
However, Kiemba restored Simba’s lead after 44 minutes when his glancing header sailed past struggling JKT Oljoro goalkeeper Shaibu Issa.
The teams progressed into the dressing rooms with hosts enjoying one goal cushion lead.
The second half resumed with visitors suffering a huge blow when Meshak Nyembele was sent off by referee Aman Paul after picking up a yellow earlier in the game.
Just a minute later substitute Haruna Moshi threw overboard an opportunity to score much to the amazement of Simba fans. Coach Milovan Circovich replaced teenager Jonas Mkude for Ghanaian striker Daniel Akuffor with ten minutes remaining.
Simba’s Ugandan striker Emmanuel Okwi capitalised on defensive mix up between Oljoro defenders and goalkeeper Issa to score the third goal with eight minutes to time.
Okwi who was just returning in Simba line-up after serving a three-match suspension was awarded a yellow card for uplifting his jersey in frenzy of excitement while cheering the goal.
Okwi was on prowl again on Oljoro defense when he dodged goalkeeper Issa on his way to score when the later pulled him back to concede a last-gasp penalty.
Issa was instantly sent off with a straight red card as Simba’s Zambian striker Felix Sunzu was assigned to take the penalty. He scored with ease past Amir Omar who replaced Issa after the Arusha side had exhausted their substitutes.
Simba have attained 16-point mark to lead the premiership standings with Azam FC being the only side so far that has an opportunity to challenge their lead should they win their sixth round match against Police Moro on October 13.
Shaibu Issa, Jackson Simfukwe, Yusuf Machigota, Salim Mbonde, Sixbert Mohamed/Sanu Essau, Paul Nonga, Saleh Idd, Napo Zuberi/ Amir Omar, Meshak Nyambele, Marcus Raphael and Kalaghe Mgunda.
Coach: Mbwana Makata
Juma Kaseja, Nassor Said, Paul Ngalema/Kigi Makasi, Juma Nyoso, Shomari Kapombe, Jonas Mkude/ Daniel Akuffor, Edward Christopher/Haruna Moshi, Amri Kiemba, Felix Sunzu, Mwinyi Kazimoto and Emmanuel Okwi.
Coach: Milovan Circovic
Referee: Aman Paul