Leopards turn the tide against Sharks to win GOtv Shield
AFC Leopards roared to their 10th GOtv Shield trophy after sinking Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 in the final played at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Friday.
Having laboured against this same opposition this year, the Leopards rose to the occasion when it mattered most to as goals from Salim Abdalla and Vincent Oburu ensured there was no fairy tale ending to Sharks’ mesmeric run in the Cup competition.
Abdalla headed home the opener in the first half from Duncan Otieno’s corner before Vincent Oburu struck home the second goal from a rebound just minutes before full time to break Sharks’ will to fight back and seal the victory for Matano’s charges.
Leopards’ bench and technical staff poured onto the field as their players sank to their knees in celebration having booked their ticket to next season’s CAF Confederations Cup and put a veil over their Kenyan Premier League (KPL) struggles.
“I feel good, it’s not a feeling you experience every day. We approached the game differently, we knew it was a final and there was no second chance about it.
“Our fans have endured a difficult season in the league and this one consoles us, that with determination work towards our former glory,” captain Duncan Otieno said.
Sharks Coach William Muluya said luck was not on their side, congratulating Leopards for the ‘deserved win.’
“We cannot talk about experience here, we failed to capitalize on two early chances we got and when they scored we lost direction.
“We have fought a worthy fight though, coming all the way to final. “Now we focus on the league to finish stronger,” he offered.
His counterpart Matano kept his word, having told Citizen Digital before the final his side was not as good, but there was not to way about lifting the gong.
“We have at least done something our fans for this season. I’m happy for the players, they showed some character they have been missing in league matches.
“We have to replicate this form in the few remaining league matches,” said Matano.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa was so composed coronating Ingwe the champions, as the team he founded 17 years ago Sharks watched in owe with the chilly weather in Kasarani after a heavy downpour emphasizing the cold hitting them.
Whyvone Isuza had his deflected pass in the third minute find unmarked Ray Omondi, who could not beat keeper John Oyemba in what was the first open chance of the match.
With Matano shouting instructions from the touchline relentlessly, Leopards kept pressing and at the quarter hour mark, Mudde almost opened the scores after combining well with Aziz Okaka only to narrowly miss in his final execution.
Three minutes later, Salim made no mistake heading home past Oyemba who had parried Omondi’s free kick. Despite both sides fighting hard to add find goals, the goal would stand until the 82nd when Okaka’s shot was punched onto the path of Oburu, who smashed home the rebound.
Attempts by Duke Abuya, Masoud Juma and Ovella Ochieng were all in vain as Leopards took home their second Shield in four years.
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