A late strike by Zambian midfielder Cletus Chama was the decisive goal that helped Simba shock AS Vita 2-1 in Dar-es-Salaam and fired the Tanzanian giants into the Caf Champions League quarter-finals.
Chama finished an assist from John Bocco to cap the victory after Kazadi Kasengu had thrust Vita ahead 13 minutes into the match, before Mohamed Husseini equalised for Simba in the 36th minute.
The result saw Simba wrap up their group campaign as Group D runners-up a point below leaders Al Ahly while Vita dropped to the foot of the pool.
As the match appeared to be headed for a draw, Chama became the toast of the afternoon when he grabbed the winner right on the 90th-minute mark.
Coming from behind to seal the victory, Simba maintained their invincibility at home where they boast of a 100% unbeaten record in this group campaign in which they have also overcome Al Ahly and JS Saoura.
In claiming top-spot, Al Ahly had to thump visiting Algerian side JS Saoura in another Group D match at the Borg El Arab Stadium.
An own goal by Saoura defender Fateh Talah on the half-hour mark paved way for Al Ahly to ease through to the last eight as Marwan Mohsen netted before the half time whistle to double up the hosts’ lead.
With nine minutes to go before full time, Hussein El Shahat completed Al Ahly’s convincing win after being set up by Ramadan Sobhi to claim Group D lead.
Saoura finished in third position in this group.
Elsewhere, TP Mazembe shot to the top of Group C after a 2-0 win over CS Constantine in Lumbumbashi on Saturday.
A converted penalty by Jackson Muleka and another striker by veteran Tresor Mputu ensured that the Congolese giants finish as group winners while the Algerian champions settled for the runners-up spot.
Starting the afternoon in second place, Mazembe rose to end the group campaign a point better than Constantine.
It was a second-straight defeat for Constantine who risked failing to reach the last eight after concluding the group stage tied on 10 points with third-placed Club Africain whom they edged on a superior goal difference after being tied on head-to-head record.
Constantine defender Islam Chahrour conceded a penalty that was converted by Muleka 14 minutes into the contest before he turned provider for Mputu in the 67th minute to the seal victory.
In another Group C tie, it was agony for Club Africain who could not proceed to the next round despite edging Ismaily 1-0 at home.
A penalty goal by Ghazi Ayadi separated the two sides but was not enough to send the Tunisians through having also put up impressive displays in their previous two games where they beat Constantine and drew with Mazembe.
Club Africain’s inferior goal difference denied them a quarter-final berth.
For Ismaily, it was a horrible group campaign in which they finished without tasting victory with just two points in five matches.
Meanwhile, defending champions Esperance finished this stage on a high after beating FC Platinum 2-1 away in Bulawayo.
Making Esperance’s victory impressive is the fact that they had the luxury to rest regular starters and fielded a largely second-string squad while they also left behind in Tunis head coach Mouine Chaabani as assistant coach Medji Traouri took charge of the team.
The contest was as good as a dead rubber with Esperance assured of finishing as group leaders even if they had lost the match, while FC Platinum were already out of the competition.
But Esperance went ahead through Mohamed Amine Meskini as early as eight minutes into the match before Ali Sadiki equalised for the hosts.
But with six minutes to go, Adem Rejaibi decided the battle with the winner for the visitors that left FC Platinum without a win in six games with just two points in the bag.