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October 23, 2018

AFC, Ulinzi blow as Sofapaka sets date with Sharks in Shield final

Sofapaka’s Humphrey Okoti tries to go past Leopards’  Whyvonne  Isuza during  SportPesa  Shield semi-final match  Kasasrani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on September 23, 2018. /OLIVER MORGAN
Sofapaka’s Humphrey Okoti tries to go past Leopards’ Whyvonne Isuza during SportPesa Shield semi-final match Kasasrani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on September 23, 2018. /OLIVER MORGAN

Sofapaka booked a date with Kariobangi Sharks in the SportPesa Shield Cup final after eliminating their respective opponents in the semi-final matches yesterday at Moi Stadium, Kasarani. 

There was nothing tame about the performance of Sofapaka as they ousted holders AFC Leopards to book a place in the final against Kariobangi Sharks, who had earlier  thumped former winners and 2016 finalists Ulinzi Stars 4-1.

Against Leopards, Sofapaka super sub Elli Asieche stepped off the bench to score the lone goal as legendary striker John Baraza earned a feather in his coaching cap by reaching the finals of the competition the club won in 2014. 

The clash was a repeat of the 2014 Shield semis, where ‘Batoto Ba Mungu’ also prevailing against the then defending champions. Asieche took advantage of a rebound that came his way and whipped the ball past Leopards goalkeeper Ezekiel Owade in the 78th minute.

The goal saw AFC Leopards come stronger and Alex Orotomal nearly leveled the scores but his goal-bound loop was cleared before it bounced into the net. 

Ezekiel Odera saw his three final chances denied with the latest one being a goal-mouth melee at the 94th minute. Leopards will have themselves to blame as they squandered clear cut chances to get a lead in the match.

In an earlier match, not in recent memory has such humiliation been handed to Ulinzi Stars. 

However, Sharks did it to book a place in the final. It was apt revenge for a similar annihilation they suffered at the hands of the same side in 2016. 

This time, the shoe was surely on the other foot as the opening goal came barely 10 minutes into the match when Duke Abuya escaped the attention of Mohammed Hassan to fire the opener past Timothy Odhiambo. 

 Sharks were relentless in their determination to finish off the soldiers and duly doubled their lead when Harrison Mwendwa fed Eric Kapaiti to put the game ever so far from them. 

Mwendwa added a third before Kapaito killed off the game as a contest. Cliff Kasuti grabbed a late consolation for the soldiers but there was no denying William Muluya a history making entrance into a second successive final. “We deserved to win.

The final is slated for October 20 with the winner set to takehome Sh2 million prize, as well as a chance to represent the country in next season’s CAF Confederations Cup.  

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