Charles Thuku and Barry Silah @PeopleSports11
Gor Mahia and Nakuru All-Stars ensured there will be three Kenyan teams in the semi-finals of the SportPesa Super Cup after wins over Jang’ombe Boys of Zanzibar and Tanzanian giants Simba respectively at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania yesterday.
The two joined AFC Leopards who beat Yanga of Tanzania 4-2 on post-match penalties after a barren draw in regular time in the opening match on Monday.
K’Ogalo had Rwandan striker Meddie Kagere to thank as he scored a brace in their 2-0 win over Jang’ombe while a resilient AllStars stunned Simba 5-4 on post-match penalties after a barren draw in 90 minutes. Gor left it late and should blame themselves for failure to win by at least six goals, thanks to missed chances, with Kagere the main culprit.
Jang’ombe had a poor display despite being accustomed to the high Dar-es-Salaam temperatures compared to Gor and were lucky not to have conceded in the 13th minute when Timothy Otieno, who was menacing on loose balls, had his shot deflected out.
Gor then made numerous attempts at goal, the closest of which was when Kagere pulled the trigger and missed the target by inches.
The second half saw the Kenyan side explode and Kagere got it right in the 61st minute with a powerful header from Kenneth Muguna’s cross. Kagere made it two goals in the 82nd minute through a penalty after a Jang’ombe a defender handled in the box to thwart off a scoring attempt by George “Blackberry’’ Odhiambo.
In the second match, 18-time Tanzanian champions Simba endured a disciplined and brave display from a resolute National Super League side Nakuru, the Kenyan side forcing the game into penalties following a barren draw.
The first half did not yield any sparks although Simba had a few chances that went begging with Ibrahimu Ibrahim and Mwinyi Kazimoto making inroads into the Nakuru defence but not going past the centre-back pairing of Joseph Chege and James Mukhwana.
On the other end, George Maina’s side were wasteful for most of the time with Dennis Nandwa missing from close range in the second half. The game was then taken to the lotteries of penalties with AllStars’ Jerome Baraka, Peter Amani, Geoffrey Kang’ethe, James Mukanji and Daniel Kamau all scoring while the Simba custodian fluffed his kick.
The semi-final pairing will now set up some mouth-watering ties as Kenyan giants Leopards take on Tanzanian side Yanga while the other tie will be an all Kenyan affair between Gor and Nakuru. Both matches will be played tomorrow to determine who will challenge for the Sh3 million winners’ prize in Sunday’s final.