Vihiga stun champions Tusker to set a date with AFC Leopards

By alex wafula
Aug 20, 2017
  • With such determination by Vihiga United striker Patrick Okullo, there was only going to be one winner. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Charles Okwemba of Vihiga United uses his experience to keep an eye on Tusker FC's Cercidy Okeyo. Vihiga United won 2-0 and will face AFC Leopards in the GOtv semis. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • AFC Leopards' Duncan Otieno powers past Wazito FC's Bob Mugalia in the GOtv semi final which they won 7-1. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • AFC Leopards' Mercelas Ingotsi celebrates one of the goals against Wazito FC. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

George Nsimbe, the Tusker FC coach was left ruing ‘possession without purpose’ as the defending champions were dumped out of the GOtv Shield following a 2-0 loss to National Super League leaders Vihiga United.

Experienced midfielder Charles Okwemba scored a first half penalty with Dennis Lugalia nodding home the sucker punch in the second half as Vihiga progressed to the semi-finals for the first time in their history.

They will now face off with 2013 champions AFC Leopards in the semi finals.

Ingwe mauled another NSL side, Wazito FC 7-1 in the late kick off.

The loss by Tusker FC is a smack on the face for a team which blows hot and cold and whose league defense campaign has been slowed down after being docked three points last week by the KPL disciplinary committee.

However, Nsimbe is confident they can still bounce back saying the league is a marathon and his players will run to their last ounces of energy.

“I am totally disappointed. I don’t even know what happened with the players today. We played a lot of possession football but with no purpose. It is heartbreaking because this is a title we really wanted to defend. But we have to move on from this defeat and focus on the league,” a dejected Nsimbe, dejected said after the match.

Vihiga stuck to a simple strategy of attacking on the counter and it paid dividends.

Coach Edward Manoah however says at the moment their biggest emphasis is on getting promoted to the Kenyan Premier League. They lead the NSL standings with 40 points, four ahead of second placed Nairobi Stima.

“To be honest I prefer us giving all energy to the League because last season we missed promotion by a whisker. But we need to get the right balance as well because we would want to make a mark in the GOtv Shield as well,” Manoah, a former Chemelil Sugar coach said.

Okwemba opened the scores in the 24th minute when he slotted hard and low from the spot after Marlon Tangauzi handled in an attempt to clear away a corner. It was a timely gift for Vihiga who had been on ascendancy in the previous 10 minutes.

Commanded possession

Tusker had commanded possession well in the opening quarter, but when the visitors saw they were not keen to create and take chances, they pounced.

Dennis Wafula forced a save off Duncan Ochieng in the 17th minute after lunging towards the ball at the back post from a cross on the right.

Okwemba, with decades of experience in his shoulders was the main man for Vihiga, calming the game down and knowing when best to play the forward passes.

His prowess completely clouded both Humphrey Mieno and Cersidy Lumumba who played second fiddle. Lumumba had to be withdrawn 15 minutes from halftime after picking up a back injury and was replaced by Jackson Macharia.

Tusker never showed any fight to get back into the game and employed pedestrian pace.

Vihiga kept on their pressure in the second half and almost got a second minute after resumption. Godfrey Airo did well to chest down a cross for Okwemba with the veteran midfielder’s volley going inches wide with keeper Ochieng beaten.

Despite their coach Manoah being sent off later on, Vihiga kept their tactical discipline and got a cherry on the cake, adding a second in added time. Lugalia nodded the ball into a going goalmouth after some suspect Tusker defending from a corner.

In the late kick off, AFC Leopards shook off their run of three winless matches by a routine 7-1 win over Wazito FC who compete in the NSL.

Wazito FC were unsettled by two early penalties, both slotted by Alex Kitenge. The Burundian completed his hatrick with another penalty in the second half.

Marcelus Ingotsi grabbed two with Mike Kibwage and Samuel Ndung’u scoring one each.

AFC Leopards scored two penalties within two minutes to lead 2-0 after 10 minutes. They broke the deadlock in the sixth minute with Kitenge scoring after Harun Nyakha was brought down inside the box by Wazito keeper Stephen Njung’e.

Three minutes later, they had another penalty when Dennis Gicheru handled inside the box. Kitenge once again stepped up making no mistake to double the lead.

Ingotsi made it 3-0 a few minutes later when he arrived at the back post to head in a cross from Dennis Sikhayi.

Stunning start

It was a stunning start to the game by Ingwe and Wazito took time to settle into the game. Coach Frank Ouna later admitted after the game that they were punished for panicking.

Their best chance was in the 35th minute when Mark Odhiambo’s freekick went inches above the bar.

In the second half, Ouna made a double change, pulling out Bob Mugalia and Antony Gathu for Patient Lukige and Johnston Omurwa. Omurwa almost made an immediate impact in the game when he broke away on the right but his rifling shot at the edge of the box came off the side netting.

But Wazito’s positive start to the second half was neutralized by a single instance of poor goalkeeping. In the 49th minute, Njung’e punched the ball into his own net as he attempted to cut out a cross from Kibwage who had broken off into the box from the right.

The NSL side then pulled one back in the 55th minute from the penalty spot after Dennis Sikhayi brought down Pistone Mutamba inside the box. Dennis Gicheru scored.

From the restart, AFC Leopards almost returned to their four-goal buffer but Aziz Okaka’s shot from the right after sidestepping the keeper hit the post.

But Ingwe continued in their dominance with Ingotsi adding another goal with a header from a Samuel Ndung’u cross.

Ndung’u got his name on the score-sheet, again thanks to poor goalkeeping from Njung’e. The shot-stopper failed to hold on to a low shot from Ingotsi, letting it slip under his arms.

Kitenge drove the final nail on the Wazito FC coffin, scoring his third penalty of the game after Dickson Ihaji handled a cross from Robinson Kamura.

GOtv Shield results.

Saturday: Eldoret Youth 0 Kariobangi Sharks 5, Bandari 1 SoNy Sugar 3 (Nyayo National Stadium).

Sunday: Tusker FC 0 Vihiga United 2, AFC Leopards 7 Wazito 1 (Nyayo National Stadium).

KPL results

Saturday: Chemelil Sugar 1 Posta Rangers 1 (Chemelil Complex), Mathare United 6 Zoo Kericho 0 (Ruaraka Complex), Muhoroni Youth 1 Gor Mahia 2 (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Sofapaka 5 Nakumatt 2 (Narok County Stadium), Thika United 1 Nzoia Sugar 0 (Thika Sub-County Stadium).