Sofapaka shock Top 8 champs to keep hopes alive
Sofapaka FC took a huge leap in their bid to escape relegation after beating newly-crowned GOtv Shield Cup champions, Muhoroni Youth 2-1 in a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match played at the Ruraka Stadium on Friday.
Veteran full-back Noah Abich assisted George Maelo’s goal and tucked away the second from the spot to gift new coach John Baraza – who took over the mantle from the dismissed Head Coach David Ouma – a good start to life with the 2009 champions.
Interim Coach, Tom Juma, made only one change to the squad that stunned KPL giants Gor Mahia in the finals of the Shield Cup but were visibly the second best team all afternoon and only a late strike from Lwamba Bebeto spared their blushes as the forward came off the bench to pull one back from the spot.
Summer acquisition Ezekiel Okare was a constant thorn in the flesh of the visitors and almost opened the scoring with only eight minutes gone, lofting a deft effort over the on-rushing custodian, Farouk Shikhalo, but the ball sailed inches off over the bar.
Batoto ba Mungu took the lead just two minutes later as Maelo rose highest to meet Abich’s free-kick and slammed a powerful header into the back of the net. The goal destabilized Muhoroni, who were allowed little time on the ball by their opponents with Shikhalo making save after save to keep the scoreline close.
Winger Moses Arita wasted a golden chance to level matters just two minutes before the break as he headed wide from a well-taken corner kick.
The visitors endured a nightmare start to the second half after the hosts were awarded a penalty and Shikhalo sent off for bringing down striker Paul Odhiambo inside the 18-yard box.
Abich stepped up and sent substitute keeper Timothy Igweta the wrong way to give his side a two-goal cushion.
Arita’s replacement, Bebeto struck one against his former employers as he converted from the spot but it was too late as Sofapaka held on to claim all the three points and climb above Nairobi City Stars into 15th position with 19 points, five below safety zone.