Saido Ntibazonkiza's strike late in the second half was enough to hand Burundi a 1-0 win against Tanzania in an international friendly staged at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
The hosts started the match on a high hoping to get an early goal to settle the nerves of the home fans. However, it was not easy against their neighbouring country considering the quality in their playing unit.
As expected, Azam FC custodian David Mapigano was given priority in the starting team owing to his strong start to the Tanzania Mainland League campaign that saw him go 360 minutes without conceding a goal.
Jonas Mkude was given a chance to impress in midfield alongside Feisal Salum as well as Simon Msuva, who was in the attacking department, with captain Mbwana Samatta.
For the Swallows, Onesime Rukundo was trusted in goal while Youssuf Ndayishimiye was trusted to do the job in midfield with Steve Nzigamasabo.
Saido Berahino and Saidi Ntibazonkinza were given the privilege to lead the attack.
The first half was characterised by inconsistency by the forwards as the minimum chances created were not utilized by either side.
The defenders also did their job to ensure their respective goalkeepers were guarded well.
Tanzania upped the tempo in the second half amid cheers from the home team. The best chance for Stars came in the 50th minute when Simon Msuva was slipped in. The forward managed to beat the defenders, beat the goalkeeper but could not beat the woodwork and the ball bounced back kindly to Rukundo's gloves.
Matters became worse for the Etienne Ndayiragije team in the 78th minute as Mkude was given his marching orders after a second bookable offense.
With five minutes to go, Saidi Ntibazonkiza paid the faith of the technical bench by scoring the winning goal. The forward found space outside the 18-yard area and unleashed a fierce shot which the goalkeeper could not keep out.
It was a reward for their overall excellent game as Burundi had managed to get five shots on target compared to Taifa Stars' one for the entire game. However, the latter had 10 shots off target.
Taifa Stars will be playing Tunisia on November 11 away, before hosting them in Dar es Salaam two weeks later. The East African nation started the campaign in Group J with a 2-1 win over Equatorial Guinea before losing 2-1 away to Libya in their second game.