MAINLAND champions Young Africans have realistic chance of reaching the second round of CAF Champions League after beating host APR 2-1 in the first leg encounter at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, yesterday.
A late APR goal by Patrick Sibomana could not save the day as right wing back, Juma Abdul early first half strike and Thabani Kamusoko's second half goal was enough to give Yanga a precious away victory.
The Jangwani Street lads will now need a draw of any kind in the return leg match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam next week. Host APR started strongly and just four minutes Jihadi Bizimana, forced his way into the box but he shot agonizingly wide. Yanga reorganised and started controlling the tempo and they forced their host on a back foot.
They started pushing forward relentlessly and Amiss Tambwe failed to make contact with a Juma Abdul's cross inside the box in the 18th minute. Two minutes later, Abdul beat the goalkeeper, Kwizera Oliver with a stunning shot from a set piece that silenced a half filled stadium, while a group of Yanga supporters erupted with thunderous cheers.
After conceding, APR seemed to have lacked ideas as Yanga maintained their slow temp with much assurance, with former APR midfielder, Haruna Niyonzima enjoying at the pack of the midfield.
Yanga continued to fashion several attacks that however, could not be translated into goals.
APR captain Iranzi Jean Claude, was the only real threat for Yanga defenders. The experienced Rwandan international forced Yanga defenders into frequent mistakes, but the host could not make the most from the chances he created.
The first shot on target for APR came after 34th minute, when Iranzi drove his shot straight into the waiting hands of goalkeeper, Ally Mustapha. Three minutes before the break, Bizimana wasted another glittering chance to pull level, after failing to connect a cross from the right, with only goalkeeper to beat.
After the break, coach Hans Van der Pluijm, called off Tambwe and introduced Simon Msuva as Yanga sought to add pace in the final third. However, it was APR who came rejuvenated and Michael Rutanga's shot inside the area in the 48th minute was bravely cleared by Mustapha. Yanga survived a real scare in the 56th minute, a powerful shot from the 30 yards was cleared off the line by Pato Ngonyani.
From then, it was end to end affair but Yanga looked a more likely side to score the second. Zimbabwean Kamusoko put the score beyond the hosts' reach when he netted the second in 74th minute, after being set up by compatriot Donald Ngoma inside the box.
It was a defence splitting pass from Ngoma again the goalkeeper could have done better. APR pulled one back in the dying minutes of the second half, when Sibomana pounced on a drop ball by keeper to drive home from a close range.
Yanga are targeting to reach the penultimate group stage of the champions league this season. From the CECAFA region dominated by AL Merreikh and AL Hilal both of whom reached the last eight of the 2015 edition only Simba and Yanga have reached the group stage of the Champions League which was formed in 1998 replacing African cup of Champions.
Yanga reached the group stage in 1998 and the quarter finals in 1969/70. Zanzibar's representatives in the CAF Confederations Cup JKU suffered a 4-0 to host SC Villa at Namboole Stadium in Kampala, to put host one foot in the second round of this year's competition.
The hosts started well and nearly got in front after eight minutes but Umar Kasumba headed wide from close range after a well weighed cross down the right from man of the match Godfrey Lwesibawa.
However, the deadlock was broken two minutes later by Mike Ndera, who made a good connection off another Lwesibawa cross. JKU goalie Muhammad Abdurrahman needed to be at his best to prevent Sserumaga from doubling the lead at the half hour mark after a good effort.
Four minutes later, Sserumaga got his goal netting direct from a corner to send the watching Blue fans into frenzy. He had another effort tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper before Nicholas Ssebwato made a brilliant save at the other end to deny Khamis Said Khamis at the death of half time.
The half time result was so comfortable that SC Villa fans in the stands could afford to dance to Congolese music from the stadium's PA system. Two minutes after the break, Kasumba got SC Villa's third and his first since joining the Villa Park outfit heading home Ndera's cross.
In the 62nd minute, Lwesibawa got on the score sheet with the hosts' fourth. He controlled Isaac Muleme cross before he sent a fierce shot that left JKU goalie stranded on the line.
The SC Villa bench made changes with Abel Eturude, AbdulKarim Kasule and Martin Kizza coming on for Mike Sserumaga, Godfrey Lwesibawa and Ambrose Kirya but there was no change to the score line.
The two sides face off in a week's time and all SC Villa need is to avoid a 5-0 defeat. Other Mainland representatives Azam FC were battling with South Africa's Wits in CAF Confederation Cup in Johannesburg late yesterday.
Source: All Africa