Leopards, Mathare sail through to KPL U20 December final
Mathare United and AFC Leopards will vie for the Kenyan Premier League Under 20 Championship for December after punching their tickets for Saturday’s decider on Thurday.
Mathare came from behind to stun pre-tournament favourites Gor Mahia 3-1 before Leopards skinned Sofapaka 2-1 during the semi final games played at Nairobi’s Camp Toyoyo Grounds.
K’Ogalo and Sofapaka will vie for third place before Leopards and Mathare duel for the crown last won by Ulinzi Stars in August.
In the first semi, Gor once again endured heartache at the penultimate hurdle despite taking a fine lead through Hillary Ojwang in the 25th for a 1-0 half-time advantage.
The junior Slum Boys came out from the breather to steamroll K’Ogalo, taking only four minutes of the last stanza to restore parity through Ahmed Abdalla before a John Mwangi double in the 79th and 85th completed the turnaround.
Leopards and Sofapaka then took on the pitch in the afternoon in the second last four clash with Ingwe under the tutelage of former player Boniface Ambani racing off the blocks in the opening period to score twice before the break.
Vincent Oburu got their first in the ninth before Lucky Safari doubled the lead five minutes to the break for a comfortable 2-0 cushion at half time.
With Leopards coasting to the final, Sofapaka scored in the 78th through substitute Isaac Simiyu to set up an enthralling finale.
Sofapaka skipper Brian Andanje and Dado Matano then went close but Leopards keeper Edwin Mukolwe stood tall between the sticks in denying them in the grand stand finish before the winners held on to seal their place in the decider that shall kick off at 2pm local time (+3GMT) at the same venue.
“The match was tough but we emerged winners despite missing some players due to suspension. The last minutes we were nervous due to the one goal difference,” Ambani said post match.
“My boys played very well and I believe during the finals we will score more goals,” he added.
-Ali Endere contributed to this report
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