Harambe stars has given Kenyans a reason to smile after beating Zanzibar through penalties.Matasi the Kenyan goalkeeper saved penalties making Kenya win 3-2 against Zanzibar.
Harambee Stars came into the match as favourites considering their form in the competition, but again the Zanzibar Heroes could not be underrated thanks to their heroics in the regional competition.
It took just five minutes for the hosts to hit the back of the net and send thousands of fans to crowd nine. Whyvone Isuza won the ball from thirty five yards, and as he drove towards the danger zone, Abdulaziz Makame fouled him giving Kariobangi Sharks youngster Ovella Ochieng a chance to hit the target.
The winger did well to curl the ball from twenty seven yards and beat Nohammed Abraham to give Kenya an early lead.
After the goal, the away team tried everything within the ranks to push for an equalizer, but the Kenyan defense, that had not conceded a single goal, made it hard for them. In the 28th minute, George Odhiambomade a good run from the left, going past three opponents, however, his over ambitious effort sailed wide off the mark.
With five minutes to the break, Patillah Omotto fouled the ever dangerous Ibrahim Hamad in the promising position, unfortunately, the ball was floated over Matasi’s cross bar by Mwinyi Haji. Three minutes later, Jockins Atudo made a mistake at the back giving Kassim Suleiman a chance to cross the ball into the danger zone, but Matasi did well to stop them.
The Zanzibar Heroes came back stronger after the break, trying to push Harambee Stars into making mistakes, and they won a free kick in a promising position, however Mwinyi Haji once again failed to capitalize on the opportunity, shooting the ball way over.
Kepha Aswani was forced off with an injury, prompting coach Paul Put to introduce Kenyan Premier League top scorer Masoud Juma with 25 minutes to go.
In the 75th minute, Zanzibar had the best of opportunities to equalize. Kenya defense was caught napping and the ball fell kindly to Issa Juma, who did well to take his time and set up Kassim Ali, however Atudo was in the right place to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.
The hard fighting Zanzibar was rewarded for their pressing in the 87th minute. SubstituteKhamisi Musa came into the rescue, finishing off beautifully Salim Kheri’s well cut pass to silence the home crowd and sending the game to extra time.
Seven minutes into extra time and Kenya scored the second goal courtesy of Juma, who did well to capitalize on the goalkeeper’s mistake. The custodian gave away the goal kick, with the help of a defender, and the striker needed two touches to give Stars a deserved lead.
Three minutes later, it was 2-2, this time round Musa Mohammed failing to clear the danger giving Khamisi Musa a chance to complete his brace and send the match to penalties.
Matasi kept out Ahmed Said, Khamis Musa and Mohammed Issa spot-kicks with Mudathir Abbas and Dan Abdul scoring for the Zanzibar Heroes.
Kenya scored courtesy of Jockins Atudo,Wesley Onguso and Samuel Onyango, whileDuncan Otieno missed out.
By Maangi Job
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