AFC Leopards in GOtv-Shield final
AFC Leopards booked a ticket to the final of the GOtv-Shield after dispatching second tier side Vihiga United 1-0 in a tight semi- final contest staged at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Sunday.
Alexis Kitenge dispatched home the lone goal of the game from the spot in the 83rd minute after Vihiga’s Edwin Mukoya had handled in the box.
Leopards will now meet another Kenyan Premier league side, Kariobangi Sharks, who beat Sony Sugar 2-0 at the same venue to sail through.
By cruising to the finals, Leopards are just 90 minutes away from reclaiming the Domestic Cup which they last won in 2013 when they beat Gor Mahia 1-0 in the final courtesy of Peter Opiyo’s goal.
“It was a tough game, you cannot underrate anyone because Vihiga is a motivated team,”Leopards coach Robert Matano said after the game adding that “Sharks is a strong team and we have to prepare well.”
The match was an affeir of physical contests, Vihiga showing determination to sink big brothers Ingwe from the fisrt whistle.
Ugandan Rashid Kyambadde almost made it 1-0 for Vihiga in the ninth minute through a sumptuous header, having collected a fine cross across the goal but his attempt went off target.
A penalty appeal a minute later for an alleged handball on Robinson Kamura was denied by centre referee Anthony Ogwayo.
In the 18th, Leopards won a free kick on the right channel about 28 yards from Vihiga’s goal. Kamurq took the resultant kick in the box but goalkeeper Barnabas Tiema parried before collecting his spills.
A 28th throw in by Samuel Ndung’u was cut out by Bernard Oginga for a corner had no impact. Then, 10 minutes later, Duncan Otieno brought down Clyde Nevade from the centre pitch winning the opponent a free kic The latter delivered it inside the area but Mbehela Christopher could not finish successfully with his shot going wide.
In the first 10 minuutes of the second stanza, Vihiga coach Edward Manoah made two changes, bringing on Patrick Ongao and Godfrey Demesi for Nevade and David Simiyu in the 46th and 57th minutes respectively.
It turned into an end to end affair. In the 62nd, Vincent Ouma was rested for the goal scorer Kitenge. He had just missed a tap in cross from Kamura.
Seven minutes later, Manoah reacted throwing into the fray Dennis Kisambo for Kyambadde with very side trying to break the deadlock..
Ingwe’s Robert Matano would introduce Marcellus Ingotsi for ineffective Whyvonne Isuza, with nine nine minutes on the clock.
Ingotsi, who scored a brace in the 7-1 victory over Wazito FC during the quarterfinal match, was the architect of the move that won the penalty that Kitenge made no mistake converting sending Tiema the wrong .
Thus, Matano’s charges have kept alive title hopes this season with the KPL already an impossibility so far.
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