NAIROBI, Kenya, March 10 – AFC Leopards continued their giant killing act in a dramatic Wednesday night with a 1-0 victory over defending Kenya Premier League (KPL) champions Sofapaka.
Itubu Imbem broke the deadlock in the 66th minute after latching onto a long ball and burying his shot in the Sofapaka net to send Ingwe fans at the Nyayo National Stadium into ecstacy.
“We knew that Sofapaka attack on the flanks so that’s where we shut them down,” said Leopards’ Franklin Osama after the match.
“We had several chances at goal and we managed to get one and we are thankful for that,” added Osama whose team now moves to second place in the standings.
Sofapaka ace James Situma said that failure by his team to take their chances was their undoing.
“We had several chances but we did not convert. AFC had one chance and they used,” said Situma.
The Harambee Stars midfielder hailed his team’s fighting spirit especially towards the end of the match.
“We kept pushing on. Football is a 90 minute game. Its not over until its over but we were unlucky,” said Situma who saw his side denied an injury time equalizer after the ball was ruled to have strayed out of play.
Former Sofapaka player Dimonde Mangili was the bane of the champions’ defence particularly in the first half where his chances were served up on a plate.
The Congolese born player almost put his side up in the 9th minute but was denied by an impressive block from Robson Dondo.
Mangili was at it again when he dispossessed a Sofapaka defender to sprint into the but Sofapaka keeper Zachary Onyango justified his inclusion ahead of national team custodian Wilson Oburu.
Bob Mugalia and Nigerian import Abbas Akinyemi spearheaded the champions’ attack by turning Leopards’ penalty area into a shooting gallery but they could not utilize their lion share of possession.
Mugalia had the best chance of the half after gathering a pass from Akinyemi on the turn but his screamer rattled off the post leaving Ingwe to breathe easy.
Sofapaka captain Anthony Kimani took matters into his hands with a well taken shot in the 56th minute but was denied by Leopards keeper Lawrence webo.
The game continued on its end to end to format even after Imbem scored his goal and eventually glory under the lights.