DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, January 25 – Substitute Wilberforce Lugogo stunned the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to deafening silence on Friday afternoon as he struck the winning goal 17 minutes from time, Bandari beating favorites Simba SC to book a slot in the final of the SportPesa Cup.
Bandari came from a goal down to to stun the pre-match favorites and proceed to the grand finale in their debut season.
Meddie Kagere had struck Simba ahead at the stroke of halftime before William Wadri drew the dockers level from the penalty spot in the 55th minute. Lugogo however ensured the form book was upset with a well struck winner in the 73rd minute.
Simba will now contest for the third placed slot with their eyes now fully cast on their Champions League group stage tie against Egypt’s Al Ahly in Cairo next week.
Kagere struck Simba ahead at the stroke of halftime, breaking the Bandari resistance that had lasted a whole 47 minutes.
The former Gor Mahia man was released through on goal with a delightful through pass by Yassin Muzamiru and he did what he knows best, striking a superb one time shot that beat keeper Faruk Shikhalo at his near post.
Bandari had held their own for much of the opening half, choosing to sit back, suck in the pressure and wait to sting the blood-thirsty Simba on the counter.
Despite their tact they still had some chances at goal and came closest four minutes to half time off a well executed counter, Yema Mwana’s cross from the right finding William Wadri, but the Ugandan’s header inside the box went just over.
Bandari had broken away just after defending a corner superbly well when keeper Shikhalo made a decent one handed save going down low to his right to palm away a stinging low shot from Clatous Chama.
Simba had spent much of the half possessing the ball and to their credit created a few chances. In the eighth minute, James Kotei’s shot from the edge of the area after being teed up from a freekick went wide.
The home side created their second chance from a set piece again, this time Mohammed ‘Tshabalala’ Hussein floating in a decent ball from the right, but an onrushing Sadney Urikhob missed the ball with the goalmouth at his mercy.
In the 25th minute, Wadri tried his luck from distance with a shot after some good build up by Bandari, but it was way above target
On the half hour mark, Kagere showed his instinctive striking nature when he rushed into the near post after some good build up play by Simba but his shot from a tight angle was well handled by Shikhalo.
In the second half, Simba started off by making changes bringing on their stalwarts Serge Pascal Wawa, Haruna Niyonzima and Emmanuel Okwi as the dockers looked to go full attack.
Bandari’s Bernard Mwalala responded by bringing in Darius Msagha for King’atua who looked a bit jaded.
But, it was the dockers who took their chances early on and Wadri struck them level with his second penalty of the tournament in the 55th minute after Hassan who was the most dangerous and most fouled Bandari player was brought down inside the box by Muzamiru.
The goal seemed to inject some confidence into the visitors and they made another change, Lugogo coming on for Abdallah Hamisi.
And Lugogo made the most of his opportunity when he scored a belter of a goal from the edge of the area 17 minutes to time, stinging in a shot after the keeper’s punch off a Hassan freekick fell kindly to his path.
The dockers recoiled to their pre-match tact, keeping possession and playing behind the ball.
An error from Bernard Odhiambo in defense almost gifted Simba a goal eight minutes to time when the stopper tried to turn away from Okwi inside the box. The Ugandan dispossessed him of the ball and cut back to Niyonzima at the edge of the box but his shot was over.
Two minutes later, Okwi almost made it 2-2 when he beat keeper Shikhalo to the ball off a Hussein cross from the left but his header was inches off the bar.