A shocking goalkeeping blunder by Sofapaka’s Duncan Ochieng and a thunderbolt of a finish by Noah Wafula highlighted AFC Leopards’ comprehensive 2-0 win over Sofapaka to set a mouthwatering clash with Gor Mahia in the finals of the GOTV Shield.
Sofapaka’s defensive frailties were opposed by the ruthless Leopards, who should have won the match by a wider margin.
But in the end, the two goals were just good enough to see off the jaded Sofapaka. Leopards employed their trademark fast paced style of play which Sofapaka struggled to cope with on most occasions. The signs were clear from the onset.
With just four minutes on the clock, Noah Wafula latched on to the ball after Felly Mulumba’s attempted clearance ballooned backwards and the youthful forward hit a hard shot that flashed wide off the far post.
Initially operating on the right wing, Wafula was a handful for Mulumba, whose troubles were doubled when Wafula and Paul Were swapped roles.
Were should have grabbed a hat trick by the 32nd minute of the game. First he saw his 23rd minute shot from a loose ball whistling just over Duncan Ochieng’s top left corner.
Then two minutes later, he left Mulumba for the dead with a quick shuffle of his feet but his delicate chip bobbled wide off the far post.
Another chance fell on Were when Allan Wanga released him with a neat cross but Ochieng reacted quickly to snuff out the danger.
But Leopards were not to be denied for much longer and when the goal came, it was in the most bizarre fashion.
Mike Baraza, who had been largely anonymous for much of the game, threaded a pass to Wanga who was a step ahead of his marker.
In attempt to cut out the danger, Ochieng came charging out of the eighteen yard box only to execute a comical missed clearance leaving Wanga with the simple task of stroking the ball into an empty net.
That was the turning point of the match and even though Sofapaka enjoyed greater ball possession in the second half it was Leopards that was the hungrier of the two teams with the same pattern of missed chances repeating itself.
Sofapaka’s only real chance of the match came in the 48th minute when Anthony Kimani grazed the crossbar with a cross-cum-short. Leopards left it late to hammer the final nail on Sofapaka’s coffin.
Were sliced opened Sofapaka’s defence with a slide rule pass which Noah Wafula finished with a thunderbolt of a shot. In stoppage time Leopards should have made it three nil but both Allan Wanga and Paul Were failed to get to the end of Peter Opiyo’s inviting cross from the right
. A visibly pleased James Nandwa, who has won six matches in a row since taking over at Leopards, said he still hopeful of a league and cup double.
“I have told my players to keep fighting. If we win all our matches, who knows what can happen in the league,’ Nandwa said.
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