AFC Leopards roll over Sofapaka in the BIG CAT derby
A revamped AFC Leopards reversed a first leg 3-1 defeat to emerge winners in the second leg match against Sofapaka .The entertaining fast paced Kenyan Premier League match was played at Nyayo stadium on Wednesday and served as a sweet revenge after AFC had fallen by a similar margin in the first leg encounter.
AFC Leopards got off to a flying start after Oscar Kadenge lobbed past Sofapaka keeper Duncan Ochieng for an early goal after Martin Imbalambala had singled him upfront with a long ball. The goal that came 50 seconds after center referee had blown the kick-off whistle is a sure contender for the fastest KPL goal this season.
Dodo Kayombo equalized for Sofapaka ten minutes later with a powerful header from a Titus Mulama's free kick. The goal seemed to re-energize Batoto ba Mungu who showed signs of clicking specially in the midfield. Fit again Anthony Kimani combined well with late inclusion Humphrey Mieno. Mieno was drafted into the squad after defense kingpin Edgar "Fighter" was suddenly taken ill before kickoff.
In the 18th minute, a careless Sofapaka keeper Duncan Ochieng fabled when he lazily threw the ball to Dodo Kayombo. Sensing the keeper was off his line, Mike Baraza gave AFC the lead again after he outwitted Dodo Kayombo , pounced on the loose ball and drilled it into an empty net .The halftime whistle blew with AFC leopards leading 2-1
After the break, Sofapaka slowly started dominating proceedings but it was evident they were missing lethal striker John Baraza up front as nothing much came out of their blunt attacking line-up. On form Oscar Kadenge had a great chance to extend AFC Leopards from a good Mike Baraza kick but missed the target again.
In the 69th minute, Humprey Mieno came close to equalizing but AFC custodian Patrick Matasi parried the shot for a corner. Another quick attack by Batoto ba Mungu ended up in an offside flag for Anthony Keymani.
Dutch Coach Jans Koops’ tactical prowess then came into full light as his substitute, Laurent Tumba who had come on for Emmanuel Tostao headed home the third goal with eight minutes to the end to send the blue army into wild celebrations.
Center referee Daniel Githaka was forced to stop the match briefly to ensure all fires lit by the joyful AFC Leopards crowd had been put off. The crowd quickly obliged thus allowing the match to go on.
AFC custodian Patrick Matasia blocked Francis Ouma's shot and again prevented an absent John Onami from grabbing an injury minute goal for Batoto ba Mungu.
After six minutes of added time, the match ended 3-1 in favor of the hosts as Kimanzi walked back into the dressing room with head burrowed in his hands as the league is getting tough on his boys.