Simba maul Kotoko in a thrilling six-goal tie
Enterprising Simba SC of Tanzania showed scant respect to names beating Asante Kotoko of Ghana 4-2 in a pulsating Tusker Cup match at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, yesterday.
Forward Zaire Obeid helped himself to a hat-trick while Gabriel Emmanuel accounted for one goal for Simba while Haruma Idrissu replied for Asante Kotoko with a brace.
The anticipated high quality of the former multiple African champions did not materialise and it was Simba who stole the show with their pace, imagination and skill to instantly win over the handful of Kenyan fans who turned up for the four-nation tournament.
Simba led 3-0 at one point and their victory will have sounded a warning to Tusker whom they meet in Saturday's final.
"There was an element of Asante Kotoko underestimating us and by the time they realised our strength we had scored three goals. Scoring four goals against Asante Kotoko is a big achievement for us," Simba coach Patrick Phiri said.
He praised the wonderful Kasarani playing surface saying it had allowed Simba to express themselves fully.
The Tanzanians should have been one up inside three minutes when Ulimboka Mwakigwe broke free on the right to shake the side netting.
The deservedly got the lead in the 10th minute when Obeid rose unchallenged to powerfully head in a corner.
The busy Obeid made it 2-0 when rifled home a loose ball after Kotoko goalkeeper Eric Mii had spilled Shaban Kisiga shot following another dangerous move by the entertaining Tanzanians.
Striker Emmanuel Gabriel who was brought in early in the first half in an apparent tactical substitution, justified the change with his direct attacking style. He came close in the 37th minute with a placed shot that brought the best out of Mii for a corner.
The Tanzania international was duly rewarded when he poked the ball in after strike partner Obeid had rattled the crossbar with a screaming effort.
Kotoko pulled a goal back in the 75th minute when Hidrissi finished of Edmond Owusu's pass. Squads: Simba: Juma Kaseja, Said Swedi, Nurdin Bakari, Boniface Bakari, Christopher Alex, Suleiman Matola, Ulimboka Mwakigwe, Shaban Kisiga, Ziare Obeid, Pitchen Pichen, Akilimali Yahaya (Emmanual Gabriel). Asante Kotoko: Eric Mii, Kwasi Owusu, Samuel Owusu, John Acheampong, Daniel Acquah, Edmond, Owusu, Haruma Idrissu, Ali Ouedraogo, Kwaku Essiem, Imbola Sanjie, Joseph Kvere.