The two sides, positioned second and third in the league’s standings, therefore saw their attempt to close their points’ gap with league leaders and defending champions, Yanga, ended in vain.
“We weren’t in good shape in the first half, we played a rather slow tempo and we allowed our opponents to attack,” Kitambi said.
“In the second half, however, we knew we have to step up our performance and we created several good chances that weren’t exploited.”
Azam’s defence marshalled by Aggrey Morris and David Mwantika looked shaky in the first half, in which it struggled to deal with set pieces and carelessly lost possession with increased frequency.
The defenders, for one, could have been made to pay for their failure to clear a corner kick by Simba from the right flank, only for Azam goalkeeper, Aishi Manula, not reacted on time to tip over a powerful header by Simba’s Ugandan striker Hamisi Kiiza.
Azam midfielders, Mcha Khamis and Salum Aboubakary, in contrast, had a good game as they managed to create a couple of good chances, which were however, not exploited by the side’s strikers, John Bocco and Ivorian, Kipre Tcheche.
Khamis also went close on several occasions in either half but the skilful midfielder failed to capitalise on the opportunities.
Tcheche, who was coming off an injury layoff, was not at his best in the first half but he, somewhat, picked up in the second half managing to make several good runs down the left flank and create chances for Bocco, who however, fluffed the opportunities.
Simba’s assistant coach Adam Abdallah, also expressed frustrations at his team’s failure to make the most of scoring opportunities it had in the first half.
Simba looked sharper in the opening half, as the team made several forays into Azam’s penalty area but the former’s strikers, Hamis Kiiza and Daniel Lyanga, wasted the scoring chances.
Azam will have opportunity to keep pressure on Yanga when the former hosts Coast Region’s JKT Ruvu at the Azam Complex in Dar e Salaam tomorrow and later face Kagera Sugar at the Kambarage Stadium in Shinyanga on Saturday.
Victory for Azam in the next two games will see the team draw level with Yanga on points but the two will be separated by goal difference.
Yanga will not be in action in the top flight domestic soccer tournament until May 10, when team plays Mbeya City at the Sokoine Stadium.