MACHAKOS, Kenya, Sep 2 – Robert Matano’s hope of clinching a second consecutive Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Shield title with a second different team were quashed on Sunday afternoon after Tusker lost 2-1 at the hands of Sofapaka in a quarter final tie played at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Ezekiel Okare stepped off the bench to score the winner in the 72nd minute after Umaru Kassumba had cancelled out Jackson Macharia’s early goal for the brewers.
It was a highly technical and tactical approach between the two sides and the chances were few and far in between.
Both goals in the opening half were scored within the first 10 minutes and were spaced three minutes in between each other. Apart from that, both Mathias Kigonya for Sofapaka and Patrick Matasi for Tusker didn’t have much to do with their hands.
Tusker were first to taste the back of the net, Macharia coming to the end of a brilliant team move by the brewers.
Boniface Muchiri broke away on the left after some quick interchange of passes left Sofapaka exposed and with space and time, the winger looked up to cite Macharia’s run and sliced in a low cross.
The dreadlocked midfielder took a brilliant first touch away from his marker before slotting the ball low into Kigonya’s far right.
But the lead only lasted three minutes as Batoto ba Mungu drew back level in the ninth minute when Umaru Kassumba towered above the Tusker defense to nod home a freekick from Kevin Kimani.
From then on, the two sides took on each other in a terse tactical battle, most of which was concentrated in the middle of the pack.
Tusker had two chances off set pieces, the first a training ground routine with Muchiri and Peter Nzuki skipping over the ball before Timothy Otieno whipped it over and the second was an awry attempt by Muchiri which skied over the target.
In the second half Sofapaka head coach John Baraza began with a tactical change bringing off Teddy Osok who was living dangerously with a yellow card and in his place came Brian Magonya.
-Game changer Okare
After 18 minutes, Okare was brought in for the off color Piston Mutamba and he almost had an immediate impact when he picked up a loose ball at the edge of the box but his snap shot went just wide.
He however made the difference in the 72nd minute when he simply tapped in from two yards out unmarked after Michael Oduor’s low cross from the right found him isolated and he had the simple task of changing the ball’s direction into the net with Matasi beaten.
After conceding the second, Tusker made offensive changes, the ineffective David Juma being hauled off for Sidney Ochieng.
But, the brewers could not break the Sofapaka backline and were almost conceding a third on the other end but Stephen Waruru’s connection from a Kimani cross went inches wide with Matasi well beaten.