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Sofapaka ‘s fine run continues
Kenyan side Sofapaka’s romance with the Orange CAF Confederation Cup is still alive after a late strike from John Baraza ensured a 1-0 win over Democratic Republic Congo’s St Eloi Lupopo in Nairobi. Sofapaka trailed 2-1 from the first leg played a fortnight ago in Lubumbashi and knew a one nil win would see them through but for long periods ay Nyayo stadium it looked like their fine run in the competition was coming to an end.
Newly appointed Sofapaka coach Francis Kimanzi was a relieved man at the final whistle and expressed his satisfaction and happiness at qualification and vowed that his charges will be pushing to go far in this competition. An elated Kimanzi could not hide his joy when he said "After knocking out Lupopo, I believe we can beat any team in Africa. My players showed some level of maturity today because they were patient and were rewarded with a late goal," added Kimanzi.
According to the coach the away goal scored in DR Congo was the real winner, " I believe we won the match in Lubambashi two weeks ago when we managed to score an away goal, so we didn’t win today."
Kimanzi spoke of employing different and new strategy in the next round as the teams seeks to prepare better for the next phase of the competition. Sofapaka laboured hard to make a breakthrough but found the Congolese resolute and determined to protect their lead. Attempts to through the midfield produced virtually nothing for the home side as Lupopo snuffed and congested this area rendering success impossible. This was the pattern for much of the first half much to the agony and despair of the home crowd and their team.
The introduction of Thomas Wanyama and Patrick Kagogo with instructions to initiate wing play and open up the midfield seemed to work for Sofapaka and the omens looked good. Meanwhile Lupopo made sure Sofapaka were not having it their own all the way and created some chances from which they could have punished the Sofapaka. Lupopo coach Milosevic Lozar agreed that his team had fallen victim to the sucker punch after missing several chances during the course of the match. He did however commend Sofapaka for a good performance over the two legs.
"We had our chances and couldn’t take them and it later turned to haunt us as we succumbed to late pressure from the hosts. The match was good and I can’t say Sofapaka did not deserve to lose," said Lozar.
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
REGULATIONS / PUBLICATIONSCAF Statutes