NAKURU, Kenya, Sep 24- Alexis Kitenge’s 85th minute penalty handed AFC Leopards a 1-0 win over a hard fighting Vihiga United to book a date with Kariobangi Sharks in the GOtv Shield final on Mashujaa Day.
With the game seemingly headed to penalties, Edwin Otieno blocked an initial shot from Kitenge with his arm and referee Anthony Juma Ogwayo pointed straight to the spot.
Kitenge did not make a mistake from 12 yards out, slamming the ball into the far left.
Of the two sides, it was Vihiga who were more exciting and had the most chances in the opening half, but were undone by lack of precision.
Within the first two minutes, Clyde Nevade had a chance at the edge of the box after AFC Leopards failed to deal with a cross, but his eventual shot with acres of space ahead of him was weak and trickled wide.
In the 17th minute, Dennis Simiyu rose at the back post to connect to a cross from Nevade, but AFC keeper Ian Otieno was well behind it.
Three minutes later, the National Super League leaders had the best chance of the half from a counter attack when Kevin Ichiami sent Rashid Kyambadde through on goal but Ian Otieno managed to pull a superb save to keep his side in the game.
Vihiga were playing with pace and using their height well spreading the ball to the wings and winning the second balls in midfield.
Ingwe’s first meaningful chance of the game came in the 32nd minute when Kitenge shot at goal after a swift turn on the left but Vihiga custodian Barnabas Tiema had a firm hold on the ball.
Vihiga continued using their height well and in the 37th minute, they almost broke the deadlock but Kyambadde’s header from a Nevade corner went inches wide with no one picking him up inside the box.
Bernard Oginga had an even better chance five minutes to the break when he calmly controlled a dipping freekick from Edwin Otieno but his effort at lobbying the ball over Ian Otieno in the AFC goal was futile, the ball skipping over the bar.
In the second half, AFC decided to go more offensive, Keziron Kizito and Marcelus Ingotsi coming on for Vincent Oburu and Whyvonne Isuza.
Ingwe piled the pressure and Kizito had a chance to open the scoring in the 77th minute but he shot wide after being well set up by Ndung’u at the edge of the box.