AFC Leopards book quarters slot

By alex wafula
Dec 20, 2016
  • Kakamega Homeboyz's Robinson Kimani challenges Tusker's Enock Momanyi. The teams drew 1-1. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

AFC Leopards became the second side to book a slot in the Kenyan Premier League under-20 championship quarter finals after a scintillating 3-2 win over Thika United at the Camp Toyoyo ground on Tuesday morning.

Vincent Oburu scored the winner in the 55th minute defying Thika who had twice come from behind as they sought their first win of the tournament.

Austine Odhiambo opened the scores in the fourth minute but Thika equalized six minutes later through Simon Muururi. Odhiambo grabbed his brace in the 16th minute as AFC Leopards went back to the driver’s seat.

But a resilientThika equalized three minutes to the break through Francis Muturi.

In the second half, AFC Leopards came back a better side and after 10 minutes, Oburu hit his third goal of the tournament for the winner.

“It was a very tough match because Thika knew they had to win the match. In the second half we had to adjust because they were playing long balls. We managed to settle in well and should have had more goals. It is good to make it to the quarters but we now need to win our final group match to top the group,” Boniface Ambani, the AFC Leopards junior team coach said.

In the final group match, they will face Kakamega Homeboyz who played to a 1-1 draw with Tusker FC. Leonard Kasembeli scored an early goal for Homeboyz but a Tusker fight back saw Sammy Mutira restore parity three minutes to the break with a shot from the right that was forced into goal by the Homeboyz keeper.

Sweltering heat

The two teams had to contend with the sweltering heat in the match which Tusker had to win to keep their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages alive. Centre referee Damaris Kimani had to call for a water break five minutes to half time.

Tusker were more assertive in the second half but were guilty of missed chances. “It wasn’t an easy outing because Tusker needed this win. It is good for us to get a draw because now we are on four points and we only need one more to confirm our place in the quarters. But that does not mean we will play against AFC Leopards for a draw. We are going for a win,” Gilbert Selebwa, the Homeboyz coach said after the match.

Elsewhere, teams progressing to the quarter final from Group C will be decided on the final day of the season after the second round of matches produced draws just like in the opening round.

City Stars and Sofapaka drew 1-1 and so did Ushuru and Bandari.

In the late kick off, Ushuru could have won but squandred many chances after coming from a goal down. Gabriel Oremo gave Bandari the lead in the 20th minute with a well taken low shot from the edge of the area.

Blocked on the line

Oremo should have had a brace almost immediately but his shot from inside the box was blocked on the line.

On the opposite end, Ushuru’s Owen Lumisi had a great chance from the edge of the area but he blasted the effort wide.

In the 35th minute, Ushuru were saved by the crossbar after Clinton Ochieng beat the Ushuru keeper to the ball from a Wilson Wambua cross.

Ushuru drew level at the stroke of half time through Morgan Odhiambo who blasted the ball home from close range connecting to a cross from the right.

Ushuru were better in the second half, dominating proceedings and creating chances but failed to break the deadlock through Evanson Kuria and Paul Mateba who missed clear scoring chances.

Tuesday results: AFC Leopards 3 Thika United 2, City Stars 1 Sofapaka 1, Tusker 1 Kakamega Homeboyz 1, Ushuru 1 Bandari 1.

Wednesday fixtures: Sony Sugar v Mathare United (10 a.m.), Ulinzi Stars v Gor Mahia (2 p.m.) - Camp Toyoyo, Chemelil Sugar v Muhoroni (10 a.m.), Western Stima v Posta Rangers (4 p.m.)