Leopards end Yanga Cup dream
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YOUNG Africans FC defender, Juma Abdul (right) and the visiting AFC Leopards player, Abwao Marcus, during the SportPesa Super Cup Semi finals at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, yesterday. (Photo by Staff Photographer)

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KENYA’s AFC Leopards saw off Mainland champions Young Africans 4-2 in post-match penalty shootouts at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday, to reach into the final of SportPesa Super Cup.

Yanga converted two penalties courtesy of skipper Nadir Haroub and Zambian striker Aubrey Chirwa, while Said Mussa and Said Said Juma Makapu missed their shots. Leopards scored their penalties through Mango Bernard, Allan Wanga, Otieno Ian but Marselas Ingotsi saw his low shot parried off by goalkeeper, Deogratius Munishi.

The results means it will be an all Kenyan final whose ultimate winner will face English Premier League side, Everton FC in a friendly match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on July 13th this year. Yanga started the game on high foot forcing the visitors into their own territory as they defended in numbers to avoid early damages.

The first impact though for the home side came in the 6th minute, when Yusufu Antony’s solo effort failed to yield tangible results in the end as his final touch sailed wide.

AFC Leopards build up slowly into the game and started deploying their men upfront using wingers as the midfield route was blocked by Yanga’s men. However, most of their final touches could not trouble Yanga shot stopper Munishi.

The visitors looked venom whenever they crossed the halfline with Allan Wanga, the former Azam FC striker missing hosts of scoring opportunities.

As both teams went for technical lecture, the score line remained unchanged. In the last chapter, AFC Leopards seemed to have got the lesson of their mentor better as they caused panic to the home side defence.

Yanga coach Juma Mwambusi made twin substitution few minutes in the second half by ending the services of Emmanuel Martin and Yusuphu Antony for Said Mussa and Samuel Greyson, hoping to reinforce the attacking options.

Martin’s presence was felt in the 63rd minute when he missed a one-to-one chance with Leopards keeper Otieno Ian who stood strong betwe e n t h e posts. Mwambusi made his last substitution in the 67th minute as Babu Ally replaced Pato Ngonyani but still, it was hard to make a killer strike.

The dominance of Yanga at midfield was reversed by the Kenyans midway into the last segment hence making many scoring chances towards the home team only to the rescue of Munishi, who enjoyed the encounter.

At final whistle, a barren draw was the outcome and penalties once again had to divide the two neighbouring teams. Yanga followed Simba, who were dumped out of the inaugural tournament on 5-4 penalties by Kenya First Division Nakuru All Stars at the same venue on Tuesday. The regulation time had ended in a barren draw.

Simba’s goalkeeper Daniel Agyei missed his shot for the home based club as his bullet went over the cross bar to the advantage of the visitors. Congolese defender Janvier Basala Bokungu, Mwinyi Kazimoto, Hafidh Mussa and Fiston Munezero netted Simba’s penalties.

Nakuru All Stars penalties were netted by Baraka Nturukundo, Aman Kyata, Maina Kangethe, Amakanji Ekmba and Kamau Nganga.

To reach the semis, AFC Leopards beat Singida United 5-4 on Monday, while Yanga saw off Tusker FC on 4-2 penalties. Other Kenyan giants, Gor Mahia, who were facing Nakuru All Stars late yesterday, reached the semis after beating Zanzibar Jang’ombe Boys 2-0 on Tuesday.

The final of SportPesa Super Cup is slated for Sunday afternoon at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam and winners will take home a cool 66m/- from event organisers and sponsors SportPeasa, a betting company.

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