DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Jan 23 – This year’s SportPesa Super Cup will have a new champion after Tanzania’s Mbao FC dumped defending champions Gor Mahia out with a 4-3 victory on post-match penalties at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.
The game was forced to penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time and Mbao proved to be the luckiest in the lottery, scoring four of their kicks while Gor scored three, skipper Harun Shakava and defender Shafik Batambuze missing.
Mbao who are making their debut in the tourney will now face Kariobangi Sharks in the semi-finals on Friday.
Gor now go back home to focus on the defense of their Kenyan Premier League crown and their Confederation Cup campaign which starts early next month.
Gor head coach Hassan Oktay was sent to the stands after 21 minutes as he continued to protest Erisa Ssekisambu’s disallowed goal.
The Ugandan international tapped the ball into the net after he picked up a rebound when the Mbao keeper did well to keep out a header from Denis Oliech.
After a few minutes of argument with mediation from Francis Mustafa who tried to talk the Burundian referee out of sending the tactician to the stands, there was no change of heart as the Cypriot was forced to watch the rest of the tie from the spectator area.
On the balance of chances, the reigning champions had the best opportunities to score, and the closest save for Ssekisambu’s goal was Oliech’s effort from the left which came against the crossbar.
The legendary Kenyan striker took a daunting run on the left before chipping the ball goalwards and after beating the keeper, it came against the bar. Ssekisambu raced to the rebound, but he could not hit the target five yards from goal.
As early as the fourth minute, Gor had knocked on the Mbao door with Ssekisambu wasting a glorious opportunity after Cersidy Lumumba’s freekick loped behind the defense and found him well placed. However, he fired wide.
Two minutes later, a good interchange of passes on the right saw George Odhiambo put Lawrence Juma through, but the midfielder’s shot went wide when he had the goalmouth at his mercy.
On the half hour mark, Oliech’s well struck freekick after being set up by Odhiambo was deflected for a corner while four minutes later, a dipped ball delivered by Philemon Otieno found him waiting at the back post but the ball was poked away before he could pull the trigger.
In the second half, Gor began by making changes, Odhiambo and Geoffrey Ochieng coming off for Boniface Omondi and Shafik Batambuze.
But Mbao had come in more determined in the second half and had their first go at goal when Said Khamis cut in from the right with his shot spilled by Peter Odhiambo, but the keeper managed to bounce back and pick before an opponent pounced on it.
But two minutes on the turn, their urge for a goal was slowed down when they were penalized after Amos Charles handled the ball inside the box in an attempt to stop a shot from Ssekisambu.
Oliech stepped up and made no mistake from the spot sending keeper Metacha Mnata the wrong way to break the deadlock.
Gor should have made it 2-0 after57 minutes but no one reacted quick enough when Mnata spilled a corner from Omondi but his teammate Ally Kombo cleared the ball away a yard from goal before Batambuze pounced on it.
The introduction of Ngalema into the fray changed matters for Mbao with the diminutive midfielder’s trickery and pace causing Gor problems.
He showed a glimpse of his prowess in the 72nd minute when he swung in a bicycle kick from inside the box off a freekick from the right but the effort went just wide.
Four minutes later though, he was in the corner celebrating a goal when he deflected Kombo’s shot from distance into the net after the latter had pounced onto a poorly defended corner.
Gor were pushed into more changes, Jack Tuyisenge and Francis Kahata coming on to try and salvage the situation.
Batambuze came close with three minutes left on the clock when he was fed off a short corner, but his curling left foot effort was turned behind for a corner by the keeper.