Atlabara, Azam Fc share spoils
South Sudan’s Atlabara FC forced Tanzanian league champions to a 2-all draw in theon-going CecafaKagame Cup tournament match played on Tuesday at Kigali Regional Stadium.
Atlabara who are making their maiden appearance in the regional club tournament started the game on an attacking mode with striker SebitAjak testing Azam goal keeper AishiSalumManula with a tough shot from 30 yards.
Defender ShomariSalumKapombe had his free kick cleared by skipper Thomas Batista who turned from hero to zero following a late red card in the 90th minute following his reckless tackle on midfielder Bolou Wilfred Michael.
New signing Leonel Saint Preux was a threat to Atlabara defense but his efforts were all saved by man of the match goal keeper MpenziJecko who was pivotal for the South Sudan’s side.
Leonel had another attempt from a header off Kapombe’s free kick but his brilliant effort went inches off the goal post with 20 minutes to half time.
Azam broke the deadlock when Bolou Wilfred Michael fired a sharp free kick past MpenziJecko in the 43rd minute to give a first half win for the Tanzanians.
Two minutes after recess, Atlabara canceled the lead with a brilliant goal to send the mammoth fans into jubilations who were all inspired by the quality of football displayed by the South Sudan outfit.
Striker Bony Martin who proved a thorn in Azam defense doubled the lead for Atlabara with a left-footed shot which left goal keeper AishiSalumManula stunned.
At this stage, Atlabara had full control of the game and would have improved the goal tally had a shot from SebitAjak not denied by the cross bar in the 80th minute.
Three minutes later defender MonydengAtit curled a free kick only to be saved by Azam goalie Manula as his defense looked helpless with SalumAbubakerSalum losing balls easily.
Substitute Didier Kavumbagu who replaced wasteful MwaikimbaGaudence saved Azam from humiliation as he rose to score a bright header from Kipre Herman TcheTche’s cross in the 85th minute to ease a sigh of relief on the Tanzanian technical bench.
With two minutes to the end of the match goal scorer Thomas Batista was sent off after an intentional foul on Wilfred leaving center referee Alex Muhabi from Uganda with no choice to but to issue a second red card of the tournament.
The draw leaves Azam Fc at the summit of Group A with five points following their win over KMKM and a draw against Rayon Sports.
Both Atlabara and KMKM are tied on two points, two points behind Rayon Sports who have played a game less just like the South Sudanese champions.
Adama City Fc of Ethiopia has a point secured in a 1-all draw against KMKM on Tuesday afternoon. Midfielder WonoosonMilkesa scored a 46th minute goal for the Ethiopians but was canceled by KMKM courtesy of a dazzling strike in the 93rd minute.
Action continues this afternoon in Group B as Ugandan champions KCCA seeks recovery over Burundian Atletico in the first game of the day scheduled for 3pm.
KCCA beat GorMahia 2-1 in the opening game succumbed to a 1-2 loss to Telecom in their second game while Atletico lost 0-1 to APR before shocking GorMahia with a 1-0 win. Both teams have three points and whoever wins this crunch match will be assured of a place in the last eight.
The last match of the day will pit three-time winners APR Fc of Rwanda against a tricky Telecom side from Djibouti who have been dubbed silent assassins in this tournament.
APR under Serbian coach LjupkoPetrovic, playing on home turf, in front of its fans will be seeking to extend their lead in their bid to win their fourth regional club title on Rwandan soil.
KMKM 1-1 Adama City Fc
Azam 2-2 Atlabara
APR vs. Telecom 3pm
KCCA v Atletico 5pm