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Otieno heroics sends AFC to Super Cup final

AFC Leopards defender Salim ‘Shittu’ Abdallah vies for the ball with a Yanga opponent during the SportPesa Super Cup in Dar es Salaam on June 8, 2017. PHOTO/SportPesa

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Goalkeeper Ian Otieno saved two penalties and scored the winner as AFC Leopards sailed to the final of the Super Cup with a 4-2 post-match penalties win over Tanzanian champions Yanga.

The game was forced to penalties after a barren draw in regulation time and Otieno, making his first start for Leopards since the Mashemeji Derby early May saved from Said Musa and Said Juma, while stepping up to score the winner.

The shot-stopper who left the field of play in tears after the 3-0 drubbing by Gor Mahia made a return in contrasting fashion, leaving the Uhuru Stadium pitch in Dar es Salaam carried sky high by his teammates after his heroics.

He will have a chance of redeeming his image if Gor make it to the final as they are taking on National Super League side Nakuru All Stars in the other semi.

Skippers Bernard Mang’oli for AFC and Nadir ‘Cannavaro’ Haroub for Dar Young Africans both started positively scoring their kicks.

AFC youngster Marcelus Ingotsi however saw his attempt saved by Deogratius ‘Dida’ Munishi but his blushes were saved with Otieno going down well to save from Said Musa.

Allan Katterega and Aubrey Chirwa scored thye next penalties keeping the scores at 2-2 and Duncan Otieno took Ingwe to the lead with a well taken fourth spot kick.

Ian then made another super save, stretching fully to his right to punch away Said Juma’s attempt. With Ingwe needing to score the fifth to close up the deal, Otieno took responsibility on his own shoulders, stepping up to strike the effort straight through the middle.

AFC Leopards defender Dennis Sikhayi goes full stretch to block the ball from a Yanga opponent during the SportPesa Super Cup in Dar es Salaam on June 8, 2017. PHOTO/SportPesa

In open play, it was a competitive show of might between the two East African giants, but the scoring opportunities were few and far in between. AFC’s chances came through a well floated Duncan Otieno freekick into the area but Salim Abdallah couldn’t put a hair on it.

In the 24th minute, Katterega had a brilliant first touch to pull him away from his marker, but his eventual volley was awfully wide.

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Yanga’s best chance of the opening half came in the 37th minute with Aubrey Chirwa’s curling freekick missing the target by a few inches.

The second half as well didn’t provide many scoring chances but each side had at least one clear.

In the 72nd minute, Chirwa showed his prowess to position himself superbly inside the box from a corner, but his final shot unmarked at the edge of the six yard box ended wide.

Ingotsi then took a shot first time inside the box four minutes from time but Yanga keeper Munishi managed to pick out the effort.

 

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