Simba SC needed two late goals with seven minutes left to the final whistle to beat a stubborn Namungo FC sice 3-1 in a Mainland Premier League match at Majaliwa Stadium on Saturday.
The Msimbazi giants found themselves trailing as early as the 21st minute when Nzigamasabo Styve's effort deflected past defender Pascal Wawa to beat goalkeeper Aishi Manula with ease.
Simba were forced to wait until the second half to produce a comeback with striker Chris Mugalu starting the goal rush in the 78th minute, before captain John Bocco made it 2-1 in the 83rd minute and Ghanaian forward Bernard Morrison sealed the game with a beautifully taken effort in the 87th minute.
Wekundu wa Msimbazi went into the match tied on 61 points with rivals Yanga SC at the top of the 18-team table and knew they had to win their rescheduled fixture so as to start opening the gap to the chasing pack.
However, the team suffered a blow a few hours ahead of the game after it was confirmed Kenya defender Joash Onyango had failed a late fitness test, while midfielder Clatous Chama had been granted permission to attend to family matters back in Zambia.
Namungo then took advantage of Simba’s troubles and were ahead in the 21st minute when Nzigamasabo curled in an effort from outside the 18-yard area, and it took a deflection off the Ivorian defender to hit the back of the net, with keeper Manula diving the wrong way.
The home team then resorted to playing a defensive game so as to deny Simba room to attack and they headed into the half-time break enjoying a 1-0 lead.
After the resumption, Simba continued to attack, looking for a leveller, and their best chance came in the 54th minute when Mugalu was left in a one-on-one situation with the Namungo keeper, but his shot rolled out, to the disappointment of the club’s fans.
Another combination between Luis Miquissone and Mugalu almost produced a goal for the Didier Gomes Da Rosa-led side, but their final effort was not good enough.
The introduction of Morrison for Yassin Mzamiru added more punch to the Wekundu wa Msimbazi attack, and they almost went level through Meddie Kagere in the 67th minute but his effort was pushed out.
With the Simba fans looking dejected, Mugalu then produced a great run from the right-wing before latching onto a through-ball from Miquissone, and made it 1-1 in the 78th minute.
The goal opened the flood gates for the reigning champions.
Five minutes later, Simba were 2-1 up courtesy of a well-glanced header from the towering Bocco, before Morrison rounded up the vital win with a beautifully taken goal from outside the box to ensure they returned to Dar es Salaam from Ruangwa District with maximum points.
Simba will next face Ruvu Shooting on June 3 at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.