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Simba subdued

George Moore
BAMBOOZLED: Msendami ties Simba defence in knots

Galaxy claim another point as African adventure heats up

After the miracle in Marrakesh came the fire in Francistown.

On a sweltering, sun-drenched Saturday in the second city, when temperatures flirted with the 40 degree mark, Jwaneng Galaxy backed up their historic win over Wydad AC with a goalless draw against Simba SC.

Just like in Morocco a week earlier, Botswana’s best did not back down against one of the continent’s powerhouses, going toe-to-toe with the Tanzanian champions in a captivating contest low on clear-cut chances but high in intensity.

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Although Simba’s newly-appointed Coach, Benchikha Abdelhak roared his disapproval at full-time, insisting his team deserved more than their point, they could easily have flown back to Dar es Salaam with nothing.

Simba subdued
Group Clubs

The last time the two sides met in the Champions League, they served up a six-goal thriller over two legs, Galaxy squeaking through thanks to three second-half strikes in Tanzania.

Two years on from that dramatic day in East Africa, fate bought the clubs together once again.

This time there were to be no goals, both defenses surviving nervous moments to ultimately hold firm.

Roared on by their travelling supporters, in a ‘home’ game played some 600km from their Jwaneng base, Galaxy’s best chance was created by the brilliance of Daniel Msendami.

Dribbling his way in from the left, the ball seemingly glued to his feet, the Zimbabwean winger bamboozled the Simba defence, skipping past several tackles on a mazy run the late Diego Maradona would have been proud of. The 23-year-old was denied what would have been a contender for goal of the season by Simba keeper, Ayoub Lakred, the gloveman racing off his line to smother Msendami’s shot, the ball trickling away for a corner.

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Simba subdued
Match-Stats

Apart from two close calls for a penalty, one which saw the hero of Marrakesh, Thabang Sesinyi yellow carded for a dive – much to the striker’s disbelief – and the other resulting in a free-kick on the edge of the box, that was as close as Galaxy came.

They so nearly lost it at the death as well, Simba substitute, Clatous Chama smacking the base of the post with a 90th minute curler.

It would have been cruel on Morena Ramoreboli’s men, who fully deserved their point.

They became the first team to stop Simba from scoring in the Champions League this season and have now kept four clean sheets in their six African outings so far.

The result, combined with ASEC Mimosas’ 1-0 victory over Wydad, means Galaxy sit level on points with the Ivoirians, who they host at the Obed Itani Chilume stadium in a table-topping clash this Saturday.

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The African adventure is heating up nicely; beat Mimosas and Galaxy would be on the verge of qualifying for the quarter-finals in what would be an unprecedented new high for local football.

VOICE SPORTS MAN OF THE MATCH

The tricky winger was a constant threat down both the right and left flanks, especially in the first half.

Simba subdued
MAN OF THE MATCH: Msendami

Had the crowd on the edge of their seats and almost won it with a wonderful solo effort.

A joy to watch.

 

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