Kenyan Premier League side Bandari FC rose from a goal down to see off Tanzanian giants Simba SC 2 – 1 in the opening semi final of the 2019 SportPesa Super Cup on Friday 25 January at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Former Gor Mahia striker Meddie Kagere netted the opener for Simba just before half time but the lead lasted just 10 minutes after the break as Uganda William Wadri won a penalty and perfectly took it to start the comeback.
Wilberforce Lugogo rose off the bench to ensure the Dockers sail to the final in just their first appearance at the competition with a 73rd minute goal that grazed the inner side of the post on the way in.
Bandari started the game the more composed and had a number of free kicks issued their way in the opposition’s half. Hassan Abdallah the main man here, with his marker Clatous Chama finding it hard to deal with the winger’s trickery and pace.
The weather, at average 32° C, and the home crowd, could have given the home side the advantage but Bandari looked no bit out of place with the humid conditions something the Mombasa based side is used to.
Wadri and Yema Mwana came close with headers but the game’s first attempt on target fell to Simba in the 30th minute when Kagere stung the palms of Farouk Shikhalo with a shot from the left side.
It was from a similar position that the former Gor Mahia man would break the deadlock with the last kick of the first half, after being found by Chama.
A disappointing way to end the half but Bandari would regroup and come back even stronger, getting back level on 10 minutes after the restart.
Abdallah used his trickery to pull Yassin Mzamiru to committing a foul in the box, which resulted into a penalty that Wadri converted after sending Aishi Manula in goal the opposite way.
With the scores level, Bandari sensed a change in tide; this was evident with Bernard Mwalala’s substitutions, bringing on Wilberforce Lugogo and Wycliffe Ochomo to add more fire power in attack.
The changes would result in the winner 18 minutes from time when Ochomo’s presence had Manula unable to take charge of a freekick delivery from Wadri, allowing Lugogo to pounce and place the ball into the back of the net.
Simba went on with their attacks looking to level and could have done that if only Haruna Niyonzima had kept his attempt on target and not skied it.
Bandari held on for the victory that sends them to the final in their debut appearance at the tournament.