NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18- Kenyan Premier League Under-20 defending champions Ulinzi Stars have crashed out of Augusts’ edition winless, despite twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Sofapaka in their final group match at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on Thursday afternoon.
From Group D, Chemelil Sugar led by former senior team captain and current assistant coach Charles Odero have progressed as group leaders after beating AFC Leopards 2-0, with the Ingwe cubs finishing second.
AFC have now set up a mouth-watering tie against Gor Mahia’s youth team in a mini ‘mashemeji derby’ at the Sunday’s quarter finals.
Chemelil have been in good form in the tournament, only losing 1-0 to Sofapaka with wins against Ulinzi (1-0) and the final group win against AFC.
The impressive, lanky South Sudanese defender Jack Kuol gave Chemelil a lead inside the first half, rising to head in after 44 minutes from a Dennis Owino free-kick. Clifford Omondi finished the job in the second half with another header as the impressive sugar millers went through.
Ulinzi Warriors, heading into the final group match needed a win against Sofapaka and a favour from AFC Leopards against Chemelil.
But both their hopes melted away like dew in a sunny morning finding themselves 1-0 down after 23 minutes courtesy of Brian Magonya’s goal.
Coming back from the break trailing, the Fred Ogot coached side worked hard to get back into contention and Alex Sunga brought them level eight minutes after the restart.
However, a lapse in concentration at the defence saw Sofapaka reclaim the lead in the 66th minute with Magonya again doing the damage.
Ulinzi threw everything to get back into the game and grab at least a win with Moses Mwangi netting a 76th minute goal to give his side some hope. Despite late pressure, nothing worked their way to grab all points from the contest.
In the earlier Group C deciders played earlier on, Gor Mahia finished top of the group after beating Muhoroni Youth 2-1 while Ushuru narrowly scraped through with a 2-2 draw with Sony Sugar.
At the Ruaraka Complex where Ushuru needed at least a point to sail through, Morgan Odhiambo opened the scores for Ushuru with a first half penalty. However, the game was brought back level through Boniface Ooko.
Substitute Franco Mong’are made it 2-1 for Ushuru early in the second half before Ooko drew Sony level with a penalty in the dying minutes of the match. Sony surged, adding on pressure in the final minutes but Ushuru managed to hold on.
In the other quarter final pairings, April finalists Kakamega Homeboyz will face 2013 winners Western Stima while Mathare United who won bronze in April will square it out with Posta Rangers.