YOUNG Africans continued to lose ground in the Vodacom Premier League title race, following a 1-0 loss to Azam FC in a nail biting match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Defender Ally Mtoni Sonso will have a day to forget as he scored an own goal in the first half and was given marching orders in the second half as Yanga suffered their second consecutive defeat in the league.
Yanga were looking for positive response after suffering their heaviest defeat of the season when they lost 3-0 to Kagera Sugar at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam last Wednesday.
The yesterday's defeat was their third of the season. For Azam, it was the fourth straight victory in the league.
Following the defeat Yanga remained eighth on the log with 25 points from 14 games after seven wins, four draws and three defeats, while Azam moved second on the log on 32 points from 15 games after ten wins, two draws and three losses.
It also means that Yanga newly appointed Head Coach Luc Eymael is still looking for his first point in charge. It was a slow start as both teams played a cautious game but Azam were much into the limelight.
Just in the 10th minute Mapinduzi Balama did well to get down the right side and he fired in a low cross inside the box but David Molinga drove his shot wide.
Then in the other end, Shabaan Idd Chilunda powerful shot failed to hit the target. In the 14th minute Molinga's set piece came off the near post as Yanga upped the tempo with series of forays upfront.
Azam were in front in the 25th minute, when Yanga failed to clear their lines following a corner kick well taken by Bruce Kangwa and in attempt to clear, Sonso turned the ball into his own net, beating his keeper Faroukh Shikhalo.
Obrey Chirwa threatened immediately after the restart. Azam suddenly had to defend, having been largely comfortable for much of the second half. Deus Kaseke's shot almost pulled level in the 73rd minute.
Referee Hans Mabena pulled a straight red card to Ally Sonso for retaliating and openly stamping on Nicholas Wadada. The match official also showed yellow card to Yanga coach Eymael.
This is a second straight match in which Yanga were reduced to ten-man, after Mohamed Issa Banka was given matching orders in a 3-0 loss to Kagera Sugar last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, defending champions Simba will be in action today as they face Alliance FC at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza, seeking to extend their gap at the summit of the league table.
Simba regained their eight-point lead at the summit of the league, following a hard fought 2-1 win over Mbao at the same venue last Thursday.
Simba opened an eight point gap at the top of the league table after hauling 38 points from 15 matches.
Coastal Union are placed second on 30 points from 17 matches, while Azam FC, who beat Lipuli FC from Iringa 2-0 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday night are third on 29 points from 14 matches.
It means, Simba recovered from a previous set back in the league after being pegged back by their traditional rivals Young Africans following a 2-2 draw at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on January 4th this year.
The Reds, however, are undefeated in the ongoing league in post-Patrick Aussems era with the Sven Vanderbroeck yet to lose a league battle. Vanderbroeck registered four league victories and a draw since taking charge of the team