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Leopards prey on limp Sofapaka

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NAIROBI, Kenya, August 17- AFC Leopards came out of the ‘battle of the cats’ with a 3-1 win over 2009 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Sofapaka on Wednesday night at Nyayo National Stadium.

Midfielder Oscar Kadenge scored one of the fastest ever KPL goals when he gave Leopards the leads with barely 50 seconds on the clock before Mike Baraza and Laurent Tumba late on completed the emphatic victory.

Dodo Kayombo had earlier equalised for Sofapaka who were missing the services of their defensive rock, Edgar ‘Fighter’ Ochieng, veteran forward John Baraza in attack as well as Idrissa Rajab in midfield.

The midweek tie got off to a sensational start when Kadenge, received the ball in midfield and raced to the right flank where his attempted angled cross dipped under Duncan Ochieng in the Sofapaka goal for the opener.

Barely had the Ingwe fans sat than the rose to acclaim one of, if not the quickest KPL goal.

The early initiative spurred the Leopards who looked the better organised side as they ran rings around Sofapaka who lacked imagination in midfield and bite in attack.

However, they managed to string a sustained spell of possession and on 17 minutes, Titus Mulama stood over a freekick and his subsequent delivery was turned in by Kayombo for 1-1 as the Leopards rearguard went missing on 12 minutes.

The tie was poised to be a balanced affair but five minutes later, Sofapaka lost the plot as Kayombo turned villain with his effort to clear the ball from defence falling to top striker Baraza who made no mistake to restore Leopards’ lead.

Emmanuel Tostao had a gilt edged chance to extend Ingwe’s advantage on the half hour mark but his close range strike was snuffed out by Ochieng.

After the breather, Ochieng had to be alert to prevent Baraza, Charles Okwemba and Tostao from pulling Leopards clear but with the game heading to stoppage time, Tumba put the icing on the cake when he added the third.

Six minutes of added time were signalled but despite Sofapaka coming close through John Onami and substitute Patrick Kagogo in the extended period, Leopards were not to be denied as they moved to tenth in the log.

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