Simba SC claimed a 1-0 win against KMC in a Mainland Premier League match played at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.
The Wekundu wa Msimbazi came into the match seeking a win from the game in hand to help reduce the gap between them and table-toppers Young Africans (Yanga SC).
However, they struggled to break down the KMC defence as they had to wait until the 77th minute to score from the penalty spot: Rwanda striker Meddie Kagere, who had come on in the second half, stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way.
With their Caf Champions League match coming up next week, Simba coach Sven Vandenbroeck decided to bench defender Joash Onyango, and his place was taken by Shomari Kapombe, while Kagere, who had started the last game against Mbeya City, started from the bench with captain John Bocco leading the line up front.
It was Simba who took control of the game from the onset as Bocco, who before the match was presented with the award for the best player for November, powered a header which went inches wide after five minutes played.
The second good chance once again fell to Simba, as Kagere combined well with midfielder of the year Clatous Chama, to set up Bocco, who in turn laid the pass to Luís Miquissone but his final touch was poor as the ball rolled out for a goal-kick.
Throughout the first half, KMC never threatened the Simba goal with keeper Aishi Manula having a quiet afternoon as the teams headed into the half-break with a 0-0 scoreline.
On resumption, Simba continued to pile up the pressure for the opener, and it was Chama who unleashed a thunderous shot from outside the 18-yard box, but the keeper punched it out for a fruitless corner in the 57th minute.
With KMC seemingly playing for a draw, Simba were awarded a penalty in the 77th minute when Miquissone was fouled inside the box and Kagere, who had just come on, took the honours to send the keeper the wrong way.
It was the second time in a row that Simba won a match by a 1-0 margin having beaten Mbeya City on Saturday.
With the victory, Simba have reduced the deficit to leaders Yanga to eight points, but have two games in hand.
Simba will now shift their focus to the Caf Champions League where they will face FC Platinum of Zimbabwe in the second round.
The Tanzania giants qualified for the next phase of the competition after securing a 1-0 aggregate win against Nigerian outfit Plateau United. Simba won the first leg played in Abuja 1-0 courtesy of a Chama goal and claimed a 0-0 draw in the return leg played at Mkapa Stadium.
On the other hand, Platinum reached the next round after a 4-1 aggregate win when they eliminated Costa De Sol of Mozambique. The Zimbabwean champions won the first leg played in Maputo 2-1 before claiming a 2-0 win in the return leg played in Harare on Saturday.
The first leg of the Simba vs Platinum tie will be played on December 22 or 23 in Zimbabwe with the return leg planned for Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on January 5 or 6, 2021.