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Sofapaka eliminate Ismaily
Former premier league champions Sofapaka became the first Kenyan team to eliminate an Egyptian side from continental football after beating Ismaily 4-0 to advance to the next round of Orange Confederation Cup at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.
Second half-substitute Patrick “Petit” Kagogo, wrapped up the game for the winners with a stunning fourth goal after coming on for the hardworking Bob Mugalia. Midfielder Anthony Kimani, had put Sofapaka ahead with a rifling shot from the half way before Mugalia and Titus Mulama struck the other goals to help avenge last season’s defeat at the hands of Ismaily in the Champions League competition.
Sofapaka stand-in coach Ezekiel Akwana was elated with the outcome of the match terming it as a “great welcome for the in coming and former Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi, who was unveiled as the head coach of the team on Friday.”
“That is a great victory for Kenyans as a whole because it comes after another successful win by Harambee Stars against Angola in the 2012 Cup of Nations qualifiers. We have done it for Kenya because it is always difficult to eliminate an Egyptian team. It is a great achievement. I also like it because it marks as a great welcome for coach Kimanzi.” Ismaily coach Mark Wotte conceded defeat by heaping praise on Sofapaka saying that they deserved to win. “We were simply outplayed and outclassed. They gave us a good challenge and congratulations to them. We did not play our game. We lost it at 2-0 because we could not recover,” said Wotte.
Sofapaka’s intention to overturn the first leg defeat was all clear as they attacked from onset but could not beat Ismaily goalkeeper Mohammed Subi. Sofapaka, who were welcoming back new coach Kimanzi, continued to attack the Egyptians, carrying a 2-0 goal advantage from Cairo. The Kenyan side kept raiding the Egyptian goalmouth with last season’s Kenya Premier League (KPL) top scorer John Baraza the main tormentor. Baraza was very instrumental in the first ten minutes, running around the well drilled Ismaily defence.
The former Kenya champion’s hunger for goals was made clear when midfielder Anthony Kimani powered home a powerfully shot in the 15th minute for the team’s opener. The goal somehow, galvanized Sofapaka, with Baraza and Ugandan import Musse Muda raiding Ismaily goalmouth but in vain.
The Kenyan side, who had exited the Champions League competition to Ismaily last season, forced another corner but Captain James Situma’s resultant shot went wide. Ismaily had triumphed 2-0 on aggregate.
Ismaily could have leveled in the 36th minute but marauding Abdalla Mohamed watched helplessly as his shot was blocked back into play by Sofapaka goalkeeper Zachary Onyango. Immediately after the attack, Sofapaka launched a counter attack started by Mudde and it resulted in the second goal as danger man Bob Mugalia latched onto a cross from Baraza to stab the ball home.
Three minutes later, Sofapaka once again remained on course for a memorable victory as former Mathare United midfielder Mulama stabbed home the third goal to cancel Ismaily’s advantage. At the half-time break, Sofapaka looked cruising and ready to end Egyptian clubs dominance over Kenyan teams.
In February, Kenyan champions Ulinzi Stars suffered heavily at the hands of Egyptian giants Zamalek in the Champions League encounter. Ulinzi lost 4-0 in the first leg match played at Nyayo Stadium before losing 1-0 in the return leg encounter to exit the lucrative competition.
On resumption, Ismaily looked lively with better ball possession and twice saw Abdalla Mohammed force Sofapaka keeper Onyango to make two great saves. Ismaily’s left back Abed Zadik also forced a save from keeper Onyango as it looked like the Egyptians were looking to level up scores. Sensing danger, coach Akwana, substituted Kimani, who had rifled in the opening goal, for John Kimani.
Sofapaka, cheered on by a fair crowd that included the team’s President Elly Kalekwa, had another perfect chance to seal there place in the next round of the Confederations Cup but Baraza could not find the back of the net after a defense splitting pass from the hard working Mugalia. The substitution of Mugalia for Patrick “Petit” Kagogo, who was making a comeback after a long lay off with injury, was booed by the Sofapaka fans. Sofapaka keeper Onyango was booked for time wasting. Ismaily’s progress to the next stage was ended in the 90th minute, when Kagogo tapped home a Baraza cross.
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