Chris Mugalu’s second half penalty earned Tanzanian champions Simba SC a 1-0 victory over DR Congo’s AS Vita Club at the Stade de Martyrs on Friday, as the Wekundu wa Msimbazi began their Total CAF Champions League Group A campaign with a vital three points away from home.
The former St. Elloi Lupopo forward slotted home from the spot on the hour mark as Simba picked victory on a ground they conceded five when they last played in it two years ago.
Vita were guilty of lacking punch in the final third while Simba were rewarded for a second half push that saw them open up some scoring opportunities.
The home side was dominant in the opening half, though they couldn’t translate much of their possession to goal scoring opportunities. They had chances off set pieces, with two close ones cleanly gathered by Aishi Manual in the Simba goal.
Jeremie Mbuyi had a cracker from distance in the 36th minute while Glody Makabi curled one from the left, both saved by Manula.
In the second half, Vita tactician Florent Ibenge made changes to strengthen his attack with Papy Tshishimbi who played in Tanzania for Simba’s rivals Yanga and Fiston Kalala coming off for Obed Mayamba and Mumbere Mbusa.
But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock, Mugalu scoring from the spot after Sidi Yacoub handled the ball inside the box.
Simba should have doubled their tally two minutes later when Clatous Chama picked out Muzamiru Yassin at the backpost, but the latter’s connection was weak.
Vita piled pressure in the final 15 minutes of the match to try and scrap back at least a point. Skipper Djuma Shabani did everything right in the 75th minute, dribbling past his markers on the right but his eventual cross into the box was way over.
Two minutes later, substitute Ricky Tulenge had a chance with a rasping shot from distance, but it flew just wide with Manuala left rooted to his spot.
Simba managed to hold on to the victory and go into match day two, against the fancied defending champions Al Ahly, with a touch of confidence in their feet.