IN DAR ES SALAAM
Zambian international midfielder Clatous 'Triple C' Chama struck a goal and saw red at the death as Simba SC edged out AFC Leopards 2-1 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam to storm into the SportPesa Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
Ugandan striker Emmanuel Okwi opened the scoring for the Tanzanian giants before Chama added a second. Vincent Oburu halved the deficit late on for AFC Leopards.
Simba coach Patrick Aussems had the luxury of leaving two of his lethal strikers in the frame of Meddie Kagere and John Bocco out of the starting line up but either way, the Belgian coach's side should have been atleast three goals up at the break.
Still smarting from that 5-0 thrashing at the hands of AS Vita in Kinshasa in a Caf Champions League match over the weekend, the Wekundu wa Msimbazi - who were backed by an estimated hostile 10,000 crowd - came out strongly from the onset in a bid to assert their authority.
"We have made a good game today before conceding a stupid goal that could have cost us. We will face another Kenyan team in the semi-finals and that will be an interesting game," said Aussems after the game.
Zana Coulibaly created the opening goal after 13 minutes.
The Ivorian easily beat Isaac Kipyegon and whipped in a cross that landed on the path of Okwi in the box.
Instead of just firing home instantly, the Ugandan took his sweet time, and turned Robinson Kamura around 360 degrees, before unleashing a left footed shot which rolled into the net off Leopards keeper Jairus Adira's thigh.
Okwi should have made it 2-0 four minutes later after he was fed through on goal by Chama.
An attentive Adira however sensed danger and quickly moved out of his line to snuff out the chance.
In between the Simba attacks, Leopards exhibited some brief interchange of passes in midfield in a spell that occasioned the visiting team to fashion out two half chances.
One of these fell to Eugene Mukangula, and his in swinging shot from the outside of his boot bounced off the target of Aishi Manula's goal. The other chance ended up with Brian Marita blazing off the bar from a tight angle.
Aussems brought in Kagere after the restart but again it was Okwi who raced clear down the left, easily beat his marker and squared it to Chama to smash home what turned out to be the decisive goal.
As Simba were cruising, substitutes Aziz Okaka and Oburu combined before the later easily beat Manula for Leopards only goal of the game.