Simba in a fix after home defeat by Al Ahly

Dar es Salaam. One of Tanzania’s football giants, Simba, face a mountainous task to qualify for the CAF Champions League semifinals after losing 1-0 against defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on March 29, 2024.

The result means Simba need a 2-0 victory against Al Ahly on April 5, 2024, at the Cairo International Stadium to secure a spot in the competition’s semifinals.

If Simba were to win 1-0, the match would be decided by penalty shootouts.

Records indicate that this is the first home defeat for Simba against Al Ahly in nine matches played. Statistics show that in the past nine matches, Simba won three, Al Ahly won four, and two matches ended in draws.

The two teams started the encounter at a brisk pace, aiming to score in the early minutes. It was Al Ahly’s 22-year-old attacking midfielder, Ahmed Kouka, who scored the only goal of the match in the fourth minute.

Egyptian attacking midfielder Mohammed Hany made a skillful move on the right flank, bypassing experienced Simba left-back defender Mohammed “Tshabalala” Hussein to create the scoring chance.

Simba players have themselves to blame for failing to win the encounter, given the number of clear scoring chances they created.

Despite conceding early, Simba were not derailed by the setback as they continued searching for the equalizer.

Clatous Chama almost pulled one back in the 22nd minute after a clever flick, but Mostafa Shobeir’s quick reaction flicked it to safety.

Shobeir, who gave a stellar performance in the absence of Ahly’s number one, Mohamed El Shenawy, was again called into action in the 38th minute when a stinging effort by Sadio Kanoute found the keeper on high alert, making the save.

Returning from the break, the hosts continued piling on the pressure but struggled to break down the stubborn and highly experienced Ahly defense, which thwarted all of Simba’s attacks.

Al Ahly opted for counterattacks in the match and created only three scoring chances.

Simba’s head coach, Adelhak Benchikha, said the result does not reflect their actual performance in the encounter.

Benchikha said they need to rectify mistakes before facing Al Ahly in an away venue to achieve a positive result. He expressed confidence that they could defy the odds in the return match.

“We are disappointed by the result, but we will take the positives and regroup for the second leg decider,” he said.

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