STRIKER Hamisi Kiiza rescued Mainland Premier League leaders Young Africans, when he came from the bench and scored an equalizer with five minutes to go, in a 1-1 draw against Mtibwa Sugar of Morogoro in a thrilling match.
The Ugandan's strike stole the limelight from Shaaban Kisiga's first half goal as Yanga fans who flocked in good numbers at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam erupted with huge celebrations for a rescued point.
The Jangwani Street side wasted hosts of chances especially in the second half as midfielders Frank Domayo, Haruna Niyonzima and Nurdin Bakari, who came in for Athumani Idd, were allowed too much possession and set about controlling the game.
Dutch coach Ernie Brandts paired strikers Didier Kavumbagu and Jerryson Tegete up front and the partnership nearly misfired for the team as the duo wasted chance after chance. In all, Yanga started brightly and missed several chances with Kavumbagu and Tegete the main culprits. Both had chances to threaten in the opening minutes of the game.
Mbuyu Twite's shot was parried off by impressive Mtibwa Sugar keeper Hussein Sharif in the 20th minute, Tegete went close again seconds later, when he danced past two defenders and forced his way into the box but shot wide. In -form Tegete missed from a sitter yet again in the 27th minute as Yanga continued to dominate the proceedings.
Former Yanga players -midfielder, Rashid Gumbo and winger, Vincent Barnabas --then exchanged quick passes down the right but Nadir Haroub stood firm to stop the latter in the 29th minute. Mtibwa were steadily coming into the picture and Gumbo drove past Athumani Idd 'Chuji', unleashed a left foot shot that was parried over the bar by keeper, Ally Mustafa to un-fruitless corner kick in the 33rd minute.
It was a moment of brilliance by Gumbo, who clearly outplayed 'Chuji' at the pack of the midfield. And, few were surprised when Kisiga scored an assured goal in the 45th minute to cap a dominant period of good display by the Morogoro side.
Issa Rashid's corner kick was headed home by Kisiga, who was allowed free header just in-front of Yanga defenders. At the restart, Yanga called in Kiiza for Kavumbagu and Nurdin Bakari for 'Chuji', but it was until Said Bahanuzi--the former Mtibwa striker replaced Domayo deep into the half, when Yanga started attacking in numbers and signs for goal(s) became imminent.
It was however, Yanga who survived the scare when Barnabas shot hit the bar in the 54th minute and Hussein Javu reacted on a rebound but his follow up effort was blocked by Kelvin Yondani. A minute later, Tegete's cross was well connected by Msuva but keeper, Sharif was quick to clear the danger.
Yanga mounted pressure and Tegete shot was well collected by impressive Mtibwa keeper just after an hour mark. The Simon Msuva's cross dropped on Nadir Haroub's head but the defender missed the target. Mtibwa responded in the 67th minute, when Barnabas outpaced Twite, and the Congolese defender opted to foul the diminutive winger but impassive referee Ronald Swai from Arusha waved for a play on.
Right when it seemed as if the game was slipping away, Kiiza made contact with Msuva's cross to level the score in the 40th minute. Yanga continued to apply pressure and Tegete was flagged offside a minute later. Bahanuzi then forced himself into the box but keeper, Sharrif blocked his move as Mtibwa survived a late scare.
Despite the setback, Yanga still enjoy the drivers' seat on 33 points, three above second placed Azam FC and seven above rivals and third placed Simba. In another match of the day, relegation threatened Polisi Morogoro continued with their survival mission when they beat African Lyon 1-0 at the Jamhuri Stadium here, reports John Nditi from Morogoro.
Kennedy Masumbuko's 52nd minute strike from a set piece ensured the Mohamed Adolf Rishard's side with maximum three points as they continue to crawl up the ladder to avoid a cut off. Today, defending champions Simba will welcome JKT Ruvu at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, while Coastal Union will play host to Tanzania Prisons at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga.