Taifa Stars knock Burundi out of World Cup qualifiers 

09Sep 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Taifa Stars knock Burundi out of World Cup qualifiers 

TAIFA Stars have booked a place in the last round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, posting victory over Burundi in the penalty shootout of the second leg which took place in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

In the first leg encounter, which took place in Bujumbura last week, the teams drew 1-1.

The two teams drew 1-1 at the end of the regular 90 minutes of the yesterday duel and the extra time too ended with the sides holding on to the draw.

The duel had to be settled by the penalty shootout. Erasto Nyoni, Himid Mao, and Gadiel Michael expertly dispatched their penalties to win the clash for Taifa Stars.   

Skipper Saido Berahino, Gael Bigirimana and Ngandu Omar missed their respective spot kicks to see Burundi kiss the qualifiers goodbye.

It was an end to end affair in both first and second periods, with both teams fluffing several good opportunities.

Taifa Stars were under pressure on the first minute after Burundi fullback Yamant Ramadhan had sped into the area and unleashed a low right foot effort, which went inches wide.

The hosts had been several seconds earlier handed a good opportunity when skipper Mbwana Samatta was released outside the visitors’ box, his effort was blocked by Burundi defenders.

Taifa Stars’ center back, Kelvin Yondani, made crucial clearance several minutes later to frustrate a Burundi striker within the box.

Burundi made two good moves later on and Taifa Stars defenders had to make solid defending to keep the former at bay.

Samatta recorded the opener for Taifa Stars on the 30th minute, slotting in a corner kick taken by defender Mohamed Hussein.

Midfielder Salum Abubakar let go of a fierce shot several meters from Burundi’s box, which went over the crossbar as Taifa Satars went in pursuit of a second.

Burundi levelled matters a minute before the breather via forward Abdul Fiston, slotting in off an assist by his striking partner Cedric Amissi.

Kaseja had earlier punched a low cross floated in by a Burundi player, Amissi, who was lurking within the area, calmly controlled the ball and threaded a pass to Fiston.

The opening stanza ended with the two teams drilling in a goal each.

Burundi keeper Justin Ndikumana made a good save to frustrate Taifa Stars’ forward Simon Msuva on the 54th minute as the hosts sought to regain their lead.

The hosts put the visitors under during the latter stages of the second period, going close on several occasions, and the latter had to opt for a defensive game.

Taifa Stars opted to use flanks to unlock Burundi defense, poor crosses however frustrated the former’s efforts to score.

Taifa Stars’ head coach, Etienne Ndayiragije, opted to wring changes in his side in an effort to reinvigorate the squad and get goals.

The Burundian gaffer rested midfielders Hassan Dilunga and Abubakar, and fullback Hussein and brought in winger Farid Mussa, fullback Gadiel Michael and striker Shaban Chilunda.

Chilunda failed to slot in a good cross whipped in by fullback Hassan Ramadhan on the 86th minute in what was the most meaningful opportunity for Taifa Stars during the closing stages.

Kaseja made a good save to frustrate Burundi second half substitute Bonfilscaleb Shassiri during the added on time, parrying the latter’s left foot effort from outside the area.

The hosts withstood the visitors’ pressure during the remaining minutes, ending the regular 90 minutes in 1-1 draw and the two teams had to go for the extra time to get winners.

Taifa Stars went close during the first period of the time as Msuva’s right foot attempt was saved by keeper Ndikumana.