Sofapaka qualify for Confederation Cup quarters

May 08, 2011

Kenyan club Sofapaka waited until the last minute to upset St Eloi Lupopo of Congo 1-0 in their return leg match CAF Confederation Cup tie at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.

The win was a third giant killing act by the five-year old Kenyan club who are making just their second appearance in continental competition football.

Last year, Sofapaka fell in the first round of the CAF Champions league after going out to Ismailia of Egypt 2-0. But this year has an almost fairy tale moment for the Kenyan club. First they edged out Aviacao of Angola on post-match penalties in the first round.

Then they exerted sweet revenge against Ismailia overcoming the Egyptian club 4-2 in the round of 16. 

In Sunday's match veteran striker John Baraza scored the only goal in full time.

It came at the end of a tense and nerve racking moment as the visitors who had won the first leg 2-1 held on to their slim lead hoping it would take them through to the next round.

With that win Sofapaka are just one step away from the group stages of the Confederations Cup where they stand to earn millions of shillings.

After this weekend's matches CAF will conduct a draw for the eight best teams in the Confederations Cup who will play the losers in the quarterfinal stage of the Champions league.

The winners will go to the group stages and will be divided into two groups of four teams each. 

It was a sigh of relief for Sofapaka coach Francis Kimanzi as this was his second win since taking over at the club that is struggling to make an impact in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) which they won in 2009.

“After knocking our opponents, I believe we can beat any team in Africa.Today we showed plenty of maturity and patience and we were rewarded with a late goal.The goal we scored in Lubumbashi made a big difference today,"he said.

Lupopo tactician Milosevic Lozar rued his team’s missed chances while praising the Kenyan club.

“We had our chances and couldn’t take them and it later turned to haunt us as we succumbed to late pressure from the hosts.Lupopo defended well and it all appeared gone for the home crowd until Thomas Wanyama fed Baraza with a long cross which he calmly controlled and put away.

 

Gina Tivona

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