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Ochieng’s late goal sends Muhoroni to semis

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ABASS AKINYEMI

Muhoroni Youth skipper, Abass Akinyemi celebrating after scoring in a past SPL. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

NAIROBI, November 8 – Wellington Ochieng was the hero for Muhoroni Youth after scoring a last-gasp goal in stoppage time in their 3-1 hard-fought win over second tier side Nzoia United in the GOtv Shield quarter final encounter at Moi’s Kisumu Stadium on Sunday.

Muhoroni who rallied from behind twice will now face Bandari in the semi-final as they hope to bag silverware this season after a fine second-leg in the SportPesa Premier League where they finished sixth.

Mark Bikokwa notched a brace for Nzoia who finished with10-men after Bolton Omwenga was sent off for a second bookable offense, with his first strike coming after two minutes of lay to hand Muhoroni an early lead.

Muhoroni responded through Yusuf Mohammed in the 36th before Bikokwa added a second in the 64th but skipper, Abass Akinyemi levelled from the spot 10 minutes later.

Ochieng provided the winner for head coach Paul Nkata who is set to leave for Tusker FC when he nodded home in extra-time.

“The match was tough because my boys underrated Nzoia but I’m happy they picked themselves up and went on to win the match. I knew we would win the game but we gave easy goals especially the first that disrupted our game plan,” Muhoroni assistant coach, James Otieno asserted after the win.

Nzoia head coach, Bernard Mwalala slammed poor officiating for their loss.

“I tried so much not to complain about poor officiating but everybody has seen what happened because the game was live. We created so many chances but we didn’t make good use of them. I’m happy for Bikokwa he could have scored even four but I can’t condemn him because he is young and inexperienced,” the former international underscored.

Having edged out bigwigs Tusker FC in the round of 16, Nzoia were on a roll from the start to see them dominate Muhoroni in the first-half with seven shots on target against the Sugar Miller’s five.

Even before dust could settle, Nzoia punished Muhoroni to take an early lead through Bikokwa who made the visitors’ defence to pay for their blander when he picked a back pass from Ochieng to strike past rushing keeper, Faruk Shikalo.

Ghanaian Toufiq Zakari thought he had found the leveller for Muhoroni when he brilliantly finished off after picking a cross from the right, but his goal was flagged off side even though replays from the live televised match showed he was played on side by Wycliffe Nyangechi.

Shikalo came onto Muhoroni rescue in the 33rd when he reacted quickly to block Bikokwa’s shot who had tore the right before Mohammed equalised three minutes later with a low header after receiving the pin point set-piece cross from Nyangechi.

Nzoia suffered a blow when they returned for the last half after Omwenga was sent off for a second bookable offence, this time tackling skipper, Akinyemi from behind.

But that did not deter Nzoia from attacking to see Bikwokwa double the scores after powerfully heading past Shikalo to restore the lead and grab his brace.

Second half substitute Edmond Murai gifted Muhoroni a life line when he conceded a penalty in the 73rd after a hard tackle on Akinyemi who in-turn stepped up for the challenge to convert the equaliser.

Muhoroni survived a scare after Bikokwa missed a one-on-one with Shikalo before the FKF Premier League top scorer forced Ochieng to clear the ball off the line.

With the match destined for penalties, Ochieng pulled a man of the match performance when he headed home in the added time from Akinyemi’s delivery.

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