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Ingwe claw Wazito to book Shield semi slot

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Alexis Kitenge, Marcelus Ingotsi and Mike Kibwage celebrate one of the AFC Leopards goals during their GOtv Shield quarter final match against Wazito FC at Nyayo Stadium on August 20, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 20-  Burundian forward Alexis Kitenge’s hatrick of penalties and Marcelus ‘Adebayor’ Ingotsi’s brace helped AFC Leopards to a healthy 7-1 win over National Super League (NSL) side Wazito FC as they progressed to the semi-finals of the GOtv Shield.

The 2013 champions showed intent of going all the way to bag the title with an emphatic start, two penalties within three minutes giving them a foothold of the game with Wazito yet to get their feet on the ground.

Wazito goalkeeper Stephen Njung’e had a nightmare of a game, giving out the first penalty and then adding insult to injury punching Mike Kibwage’s cross from the right into his own net and letting the ball slide under his arm for Ingwe’s sixth in the second half.

Ingwe got into the lead in the sixth minute when Njung’e brought down Harun Nyakha inside the box when he went all out to pick the ball off his feet and Kitenge did not disappoint from the spot hitting the ball low and hard.

Three minutes later, Wazito conceded a penalty, this time Dennis Gicheru handling the ball inside the box as his clearing header from an Aziz Okaka cross ricocheted off his team mate and back to his arm. Kitenge once again stepped up making no mistake to double the lead.

Wazito had taken time to get into the game and the two quick goals shook them off balance. They struggled to get their act back together and when they finally did as the half wore on, got chances to score.

AFC Leopards midfielder Duncan Otieno tackles Wazito’s Antony Gathu during their GOtv Shield quarter final match against Wazito FC at Nyayo Stadium on August 20, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

In the 33rd minute, former Sofapaka ace Bob Mugalia had a free header inside the box from a Joakim Omolo cross go wide while two minutes later, former Tusker and KCB defender Mark Odhiambo’s effort from a freekick went inches over.

Kibwage almost scored into his own net in the 37th minute with his attempt to clear the ball off an Omolo cross. From the second corner, Gicheru’s free header went wide.

All through, AFC remained comfortable retaining their shape with Dennis Sikhayi doing very well in his adopted left back role.

They should have gone three up in the 42nd minute but Okaka’s attempt at chipping the ball over the keeper from a sleek Duncan Otieno through pass was finger-tipped over by the Wazito keeper.

In the second half, Wazito head coach Frank Ouna made a double swoop, pulling out Mugalia and Antony Gathu for Patient Lukige and Johnston Omurwa. AFC responded by bringing in Andrew Tololwa for Nyakha.

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.

AFC Leopards midfielder Harun Nyakha vies for the ball with Wazito’s Antony Gathu during their GOtv Shield quarter final match against Wazito FC at Nyayo Stadium on August 20, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Wazito’s positive start to the second half was undone in an instant in the 49th minute when poor goalkeeping from Njung’e saw his punch the ball into his own net after Kibwage had broken through from the right outmuscling Gicheru.

The NSL side however had some slight hope of a comeback in the 55th minute when Gicheru scored from a penalty after Sikhayi brought down Piston Mutamba inside the box from a swiftly executed counter attack.

It turned out to be a frantic resumption of the game with Okaka almost getting his name on the scoresheet three minutes later but his shot after going past keeper Njung’e from a counter came off the upright.

On the other end four minutes later, Wazito had a brilliant chance to halve the deficit but Omurwa’s low shot from a cutback by Mutamba was well saved by Andika.

AFC were in no panic mode and with ease stretched their lead to five. Ingotsi headed them further ahead unmarked at the far post from a Samuel Ndung’u cross.

Ndung’u also got his name on the score sheet with 10 minutes to go with a low shot that slipped under the keeper’s arms from the edge of the box.

Kitenge put the icing on the cake with a late penalty after Dickson Ihaji handled a cross from Robinson Kamura.

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