NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 04 – Goalkeeper Gad Mathews saved two spot kicks as Gor Mahia clinched the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Betway Cup with a 4-1 post-match penalties victory over arch rivals AFC Leopards in the final played at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
The Mashemeji Derby Cup Final had to be decided from 12 yards out after a barren stalemate in regulation time, and it was Gor who would master the penalties to win their first Cup title since 2012.
On penalties, Gor had a flying start with Sydney Ochieng sending Owade the wrong way while his opposite number Gad Mathews made a great save with his trailing right leg to keep away AFC skipper Isaac Kipyegon’s effort.
Kenneth Muguna was up next for Gor, making no mistake from 12 yards out as he ensured Gor’s perfect score was maintained. AFC were now playing the chasing game but they couldn’t keep up.
Gad Mathews popped up once again, saving off Said Tsuma’s poorly taken penalty, Gor leading the way 2-0.
Clifton Miheso then ensured Gor were comfortable on the steering wheel with a cool penalty as K’Ogalo went 3-0 up. Washington Munene restored some hope for AFC scoring their third kick, though the keeper had his fingers on them.
But, there was no stopping Gor as Samwel Onyango scored their fourth, putting the game beyond reach for Ingwe.
The swing of chances in the opening half fell on Leopards who were more attacking while Gor chose to sit back with John Oyemba seldom troubled in the Ingwe goal.
In the sixth minute, Elvis Rupia rattled the bar with a powerful shot after outmuscling Harun Shakava off the ball to stride to the edge of the area.
Rupia was a constant threat for Leopards as he sat out wide and chose to pounce cutting into the area. But, Shakava was handed the task of tracking down Ingwe’s top scorer whichever move he made and any time he had the ball at his feet, the Gor skipper was preying on his shoulders.
Leopards had to wait till the 32nd minute of the game to have another meaningful chance at goal, but once again, it was thwarted by Shakava.
Austin Odhiambo sent Harrison Mwenda through with a peach of a pass, but the winger could not get to the ball early, being beaten by Shakava who slid in to touch the ball away for a corner.
On the other end, Gor had their first and only shot on target in the opening half when a defensive header off Clyde Senaji fell on Karim Nikiema, but the Burkinabe sent his shot straight at Gad Mathews in the Gor goal.
Gor almost had a perfect start in the second half when Collins Shichenje lost the ball cheaply in a dangerous area. Gor won the ball and sent Clifton Miheso through but his shot was straight at the keeper.
In the 51st minute, Gor probed the Ingwe backline again and this time, it was Said Tsuma who came to the rescue. Miheso sent in a cross from the left which was punched into Nikiema’s path, but a Tsuma appeared in a flash to block the shot for a corner.
Off the resultant set-piece, Frank Odhiambo saw his header fly over the bar.
AFC made changes to their team, Paul Thiong’o coming on for Odhiambo, the latter least impressed in the change. Later, they also brought in Washington Munene for Collins Shivachi and Hansel Ochieng for Mwenda.
This saw Munene go out to the left side of defense while Lewis Bandi switched to the right.
Leopards sought to have the depth wide with Thiong’o and Hansel’s fresh pair of legs doing the running out on the wings. But, they couldn’t get the much needed goal.
With time ticking and penalties looking like the likely decider, AFC Leopards asked third choice keeper Ezekiel Owade, a penalty specialist to warm up. He was brought in for Oyemba.