The Zaria Road Stadium in Jos came alive last Sunday when the Tin City Boys,Plateau United who are representing Nigeria in this year’s CAF Champions League competion hosted Simba SC of Tanzania.
In a keenly contested match, the Tanzanian giants managed to stun their wasteful hosts Plateau United in Jos in front of an almost empty stadium that includes the Plateau State governor Barr.Simon Lalong and other top government dignitaries..
Simba made a fine start to their CAF Champions League campaign after securing a 1-0 victory over Plateau United in the first leg of the preliminary round at the New Jos Stadium on Sunday.
Clatous Chama scored the only goal of the game for the visitors 10 minutes into the second half.
As the Nigerian champions, Plateau came into the match with high hopes of profiting from home advantage against the visitors, who appeared in this year’s competition as Tanzania‘s kings.
The Peace Boys made a fine start against the Wekundu wa Msimbazi and almost got an early lead through Dennis Nya but goalkeeper Aishi Manila halted the attempt in the fourth minute.
Three minutes later, the visitors won a freekick on the edge of the box when Isah Ndala brought down Aishi Manila but John Bocco headed the resulting effort from Mohamed Hussein wide.
The hosts continued to threaten Sven Vandenbroeck’s side’s defence but goalkeeper Manila stopped Oche Ochewechi’s shot in the 13th minute before punching Nda’s header away seconds later.
Simba narrowly escaped after another attack from Plateau as Nya’s initial shot and Abba Umar’s rebound came off the crossbar.
Simba, on the other hand, came close when Luis Miquissone sent in a fine cross but his teammates could not connect in the 20th minute.
Ten minutes from half-time, Plateau mounted more pressure on the visitors’ defence when Uche Onuasonya and Sunday Adetunji found themselves in good positions but both forwards shot wide.
After the break, Plateau coach Abdul Maikaba brought on Ovoke Benard as a replacement for Saheed Jibrin as the hosts aimed to make the best of their promising attacks after a wasteful first half.
Against the run of play, Chama broke the deadlock for Simba, with a rebound after Plateau goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar parried Miquissone’s effort into his path in the 54th minute.
In the search for a quick response, Adetunji raced clear on the wing before setting up Abba Umar inside the Simba’s area eight minutes later but his finishing left a lot to be desired.
In the 68th minute, Adetunji again made waste of another begging chance as he could not finish the cross from Ibrahim Babawo well.
Plateau continued pilling on the pressure but the Tanzanian giants maintained a tight defence to grind out a massive away win.
With the first leg result in Jos, the reverse fixture will set up another tantalising encounter when the two domestic champions meet at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium, Dar es Salaam on December 5.
Speaking to EAGLE EYE WATCH shortly after the match Pascal Awawa one of the Simba players told our reporter that they came to Jos to secure a good result which they got and promised to consolidate on their victory in the return match.
Similarly fans that were seen around expressed dismay over the performance of the team blaming the presence of the governor Simon Lalong for the defeat while others attributed the non availability of spectators to cheer the team to victory due to Covid19.
Recall that EAGLE EYE WATCH reported the fears of some football faithfuls who advised Gov Simon Lalong not to come to the stadium because the last time he attended a match involving Plateau United against Akwa United in January in Jos it ended goalless after strings of home victories earlier recorded by the Nigerian Professional League champions.