NAIROBI, November 7 – A first half goal by George Abege was all that hosts Bandari FC needed to storm the GOtv Shield semi-finals following their 1-0 win over hard fighting Ulinzi Stars at Mombasa County Stadium on Saturday.
Bandari who finished fourth in the SportPesa Premier League had to wait until the half hour mark to find the back of the net after Abege, a former Nairobi City Stars forward brilliantly finished off Anthony Kimani’s delivery after the latter exchanged passes with Victor Ndinya inside the box.
Head coach, Twahir Muhiddin said his charges are ready to face whoever they will be paired with in the last four after his players showed impressive performance this season.
“The game was not easy but we were prepared mentally. We knew the task that was ahead of us. Our players have replicated what we have been practicing in training and I thank them for the display they have shown today,” Muhiddin, a former Harambee Stars tactician underlined after the win.
His opposite number, Robert Matano whose dream of winning silverware this season was shattered, outlined lady luck was not on their side but was pleased with his charges performance this term.
“Luck was not on our side but we are grateful the boys played well. They got one chance and scored. My season has been good bearing in mind we came from 10th to second in the league is not easy.
“We need to maintain that spirit but we will sit down and reflect our highs and lows. We will improve next season,” Matano asserted.
The opening half was dominated by plenty of chances from both sides with Abege threatening twice for the Dockers but his efforts were turned down after being flagged offside in both instances.
Boniface Onyango could have handed Ulinzi the opener in the 25th minute but he fluffed the opportunity when he blazed over his low volley from inside the box before Abege punished them five minutes later.
The Soldiers responded through Kevin Amwayi who pulled a long range drive but Bandari custodian, Wilson Obungu was up to the task.
Obungu who marshalled his defence of Mohammed Shariff and Duncan Otewa was instrumental to once again deny Ulinzi at the stroke of halftime.
Matano ringed changes when they resumed for the final half, withdrawing Enosh Ochieng and Oscar Wamalwa for Evans Amuoka and John Makwata as he strengthened his attack in search of the equaliser.
The new entrants connected well to see Ulinzi come close when Amuoka found Makwata who saw his header rattle the woodwork after Obungu was well beaten.
Masoud Juma ,a second half substitute for Ndinya, could have buried Ulinzi when he broke through from the right to beat Ochieng only for his low placed shot to miss the target by a whisker.
Ulinzi’s final chance to send the match to penalties was thwarted three minutes to stoppage time after Obungu committed himself to stretch fully and keep out Makwatta’s high cross from the right.
Bandari succeeded in making their only win against the Soldiers this season in a fascinating way to eliminated favourites Ulinzi.