Thirteen-time Kenyan football champions AFC Leopards ended Kariobangi Sharks’ dream of bagging their first title after joining the top tier league thrashing the side 2-0 in a GOtv finals played at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Friday.
The win saw Robert Matano’s side clinch the title for the 10th time, having last won the trophy in 2013 after beating Gor Mahia 1-0, to book their CAF continental championship slot and bag Sh2 million prize money.
Ingwe made their intentions known from the whistle as they went on a composed attack mode and in the eighth minute they would have made it 1-0 through a well-intended loop by Musa Mudde but it went slightly over the bar to the disappointment of the unexpectedly small fan base that had turned out for the match.
The side however continued their onslaught on the surprisingly unsettled Sharks and eleven minutes later their efforts paid off after defender Salim Abudalla towered above everyone to head home their opener from a Dancun Otieno corner kick.
Attempts by William Muluya’s side to net an equaliser in the first half proved futile as key striker Masoud Juma failed to convert two open chances and the match went to the breather with Ingwe holding the slight advantage.
The match was disrupted for close to ten minutes at the start of the second half as a scuffle between AFC Leopards stewards and a Kariobangi Sharks technical bench official behind AFC’s goal in what emerged to be claims of black magic.
After return to normalcy, Sharks’ mounted immense pressure on AFC, after coach Muluya made a double substitution bringing in Ovellah Ochieng and Ebrimah Sanneh for Paul Kamau and Duke Abuya.
With Matano’s side relying on breaks for attempts on goal, the match looked likely to end on that score line but Shark’s defence was caught napping ten minutes to time and Vincent Oburu punished them as he intercepted a poorly cleared ball to tap in his side’s second to seal their win. “We knew what works for our opponents and used it against them. I am happy for my players as they were very impressive.