LIPULI FC booked a place into Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC) final after a deserved 2-0 win over Young Africans at Samora Stadium in Iringa yesterday.
The win ended Yanga’s determination to play in the CAF Confederation Cup next season, letting it go to either Azam or Lipuli, the last two in the race.
First half goals from Paul Nonga in the 27th minute and Daruesh Saliboko who netted in the 38th minute, were enough to see their side stepping in the final and will face Azam FC who became the first side to make it into the last two after a 1-0 triumph over Kinondoni Municipal Council (KMC) on Friday.
It is the first time for Lipuli to play in the ASFC final whose performance this season has been amazing.
If Azam will win the title, they will become the first side to clinch it twice bearing in mind that no team has lately managed to claim the lucrative trophy two times since it was inaugurated four years ago.
The past winners of ASFC are Yanga, Simba, Azam and the current defending champions Mtibwa Sugar who represented the country in CAF Confederation Cup.
On the other hand, the defeat was the second for Yanga at Samora Stadium this season as they went down 1-0 in the Mainland Premier League match held there midway of the unfolding season.
The slump has slightly dashed away hopes for Yanga to claim any silverware this term and will be compelled to come back strongly next season since despite topping the league table, the second placed Simba have a big advantage to retain the title as they have more games to play than the former.
The hosts looked lethal midway into the first half after starting the game on a low pedal. Their composure and determination when going to the opponents’ goal highly contributed them to score the two goals.
Just 14th minute in the first half, Haruna Shamte’s long range shot from the set-piece strike slightly troubled Yanga’s goalie Klaus Kindoki who punched it to safety as Lipuli fans had already risen to their feet preparing to cheer for the goal.
This gave Lipuli energy to believe that they could win the hot match and silence the title favourites Yanga, whose newly elected chairman Mshindo Msolla was present at the venue.
Lipuli, on several occasions, forced Yanga to defend more than attacking, hence piling a lot of pressure to the visitors no wonder their weakness at the back line was easily seen.
After series of attacks, finally, the hosts made a breakthrough in the 27th minute through Nonga who seized infringement advantage inside Yanga’s penalty box to fire home the opener of the match.
Kindoki, who initially punched the ball away, saw his defenders failing to clear the rebound gifting Nonga a scoring opportunity.
As Yanga wanted to reply positively, they opened up another channel which resulted into the second goal that came similar to the circumstances of the opening goal hence creating a big mountain for Yanga to overcome in the second half.