TP Mazembe held Simba SC to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their CAF Champions League quarterfinal, played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the blank score line, both teams offered plenty in attack and the woodwork was hit at either end of the field, while the hosts also wasted a spot kick.
The early minutes of the game featured a booking for TP Mazembe attacker Jackson Muleka, who was cautioned for diving in the penalty area, while Simba suffered an early injury blow which forced then to replace Pascal Wawa with Murushid Juuko.
The visitors had a good opening just before the midway point of the first half when Muleka set up Tresor Mputu, who sent an effort over the crossbar, while on the half hour mark Simba were achingly close to claiming the lead, as Meddie Kagere saw his shot come back off the woodwork.
The Ravens reacted to the close shave with a good chance of their own, as Joseph Ochaya sent a long-range throw-in toward the danger area, resulting in a blocked shot for Abdoulaye Sissoko – this proved to be the last attacking highlight of a goalless first 45 minutes.
Simba blew a glorious chance to claim the lead 10 minutes after the restart, with John Bocco one-one-one with the goalkeeper but unable to get the better of Sylvain Gbohouo, who gratefully smothered the ball to relieve the danger.
Bocco then earned a debatable penalty for the hosts after his cross hit the hand of Christian Kouame, but the Simba attacker struck the spot kick over the crossbar to waste yet another great scoring opportunity.
Mazembe recovered well from the scare and had the better of what remained of the game, even coming close to a late goal when Glody Likonza set up Muleka to strike the woodwork, but the final whistle saw the teams locked at 0-0.
The return game will be played at Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi next Saturday afternoon.
Simba SC 0
TP Mazembe 0
Simba: Manula, Coulibaly, Nyoni, Wawa (Juuko 8’), Hussein, Kotei, Niyonzima, Mkude, Bocco, Kagere, Chama (Okwi 55’)
Mazembe: Gbohouo, Masengo, Chongo, Mondeko, Ochaya, Kouame, Miche, Mputu (Likonza 82’), Kalaba (Elia 57’), Sissoko (Sinkala 65’), Muleka