A resurgent second half display by Simba SC saw Joash Onyango equalise and grab a point in a pulsating encounter played at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es salaam on Saturday.
In an impressive show of Tanzania football, Young Africans took an early lead, thanks to a 32nd minute penalty by Michael Sarpong.
The opening 10 minutes were excitingly a see-saw affair with the two teams adventurous with forays upfront.
But there was no real goal threat in the opening stages of the game.
Simba goalkeeper Aishi Manula was called into action 18 minutes into the game after they lost possession in the opposition half, allowing Yanga to break loose with a quick counter to test Manula.
In the 20th minute, Simba’s Pascal Wawa blasted a free kick over bar in what was their best chance of the opening stages of the highly contested game.
In the 31st minute, Yanga won a penalty after Tuisila Kisinda was tripped as he burst onto the Simba box with pace. Failing to contain his blistering pace, Onyango tripped him, and upstepped Sarpong who sent Manula the wrong way.
The goal seemed to have breathed life into Yanga who relentlessly threw attack after attack against their crosstown opponents thereafter. But none of their attacks would yield a second goal.
After the half time pep talk, Simba returned a resurgent side and fought hard to get an equaliser. However, they often found the organised Yanga defence uncompromising at the back.
And then Kisinda had a chance to extend the lead with 10 minutes to go but Manula pulled off a great save to stop his deflected shot from.
Exactly two minutes later, Simba deservedly got the equaliser through Kenyan star Joash Onyango with a header.
Jacob Mbuya, a football journalist with Clouds Media, said it was exciting to see both teams play good football. “It was a tough game and it’s been a while to see a derby. Both teams played well. I was believing Yanga would win after dominating in the first half. Simba came back strong in the second half and it worked for them,” he said.
The draw saw Yanga stay in second place with 24 points while Simba remain third with 20 points. Azam FC, who have amassed 25 points, are at the top.
By Mthokozisi Dube
reporting from Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar es Salaam