Taifa Stars rallied from behind to post their first victory in the day two of 2014 World Cup qualifiers as they beat visiting Gambia by 2-1 goals at the packed National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The visitors pulled first blood through striker Mamadou Ceesay as early as the eighth minute of the opening half.
Massively built Gambia players looked dominant on the field taking advantage of their visitors to silence the home fans for the rest of the first half.
Gambia looked well organised after the goal and played football with extra ordinary confidence as the home side players tried to regain composure.
The home side players resumed the second half with flares as they intensified attacks upfront with striker Mbwana Samata dissecting the Gambia defence almost at will.
Most of the Taifa Stars strikers had a torrid moment to outpace the Gambians owing to their morphology. The home side intensified attacks as they besieged Gambia goal for most of the second half and it took them barely 15 minutes to pull the all important equaliser.
It was a rare goal scored by defender Shomari Kapombe through a diving header off Erasto Nyoni’s in swing cross after superb spadework on the flanks.
The goal threw the home fans in frenzy of celebrations at the packed 60,000-seater stadium to send shockwaves to the visitors.
Gambia still tried hard to inflict another sting into the flesh of the home side but the tide was increasingly rising at an incredible speed.
Coach Kim Poulsen replaced misfiring striker John Bocco for Haruna Moshi who made the all important difference upfront.
Goalkeeper Juma Kaseja was at times called to make daring saves from on rushing Gambia strikers who looked well determined to pull all the three points allotted in yesterday’s match.
Taifa Stars besieged Gambia with Samata at his best and it was seven minutes to time when Gambia defender handed the ball in frantic efforts to clear the ball.
Referee awarded the hosts a penalty and Erasto Nyoni made no mistake to blast home the ball that sent Gambia goalkeeper Camara the wrong side.
The goal was celebrated with a thundering applause by the home fans who were looking for their maiden victory in the qualifier series.
It was a see-saw affair for the rest of the remaining time as either side tried hard to score.
The victory has been a he relief not only to players but also to the head coach Poulsen who tasted his first win since taking over the team last month.
The Tanzania Breweries sponsored team had lost their opening qualifier match away to Cote d’Ivoire by 2-1 goals in Abidjan last weekend.
The brewers have injected a colossal 23 billion shillings as the biggest ever sponsorship package for the team in five years time.
Taifa Stars now look forward to their third qualifier match against Morocco who were also in action against Cote d’Ivoire over the weekend.
Juma Kaseja, Shomari Kapombe, Amir Maftah, Erasto Nyoni, elvinYondani, Mwinyi Kazimoto, Salimm Aboubakar, Mrisho Ngasa, John Bocco/Haruna Moshi, Domayo and Mbwana Samata.
Musa Camara, Ousman Koli, pa Saikou Abu Lameh, Christopher Allen, Mamadou Ceesay, Demba Savage, Salhou Pasama, Yancuba Ceesay, Pa Modou and Mustafa AJrfu