Prolific marksman Ezekiel Odera spared defending champions AFC Leopards the blushes as he pounced at the death to break the hearts of gutsy minnows Mwatate FC in a SportPesa Shield last 16 tie staged at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.
An under strength Gor Mahia then emasculated Posta Rangers at the same venue shortly afterwards to keep K’Ogalo’s domestic treble dream alive. The 3-1 demolition of an experienced Rangers squad was a huge indictment to Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo’s side and a bold statement from Gor.
The opening game between Taita Taveta-based Mwatate and Leopards kept the fans riveted to action as Mwatate stunned the defending champions early in the game through John Musyoka and it forced Leopards into a forward line overhaul to restore parity.
New signing Eugene Mukangula opened his goal account for Ingwe with a second half strike from inside the box to even the scores after fleet footed Jaffery Owiti delivered a lofted ball into the danger area.
The minnows then held on for a lifeline, stretching Ingwe on occasions without really finding the vital conversions. Leopards had a reasonable penalty shout in the 78th minute when the ball glazed Hashim Kakaire’s hand with Ezekiel Odera lurking. Their wishes were not granted and the game seemed headed for a draw at full-time.
Mukangula had a fierce shot repelled by goalkeeper Godfrey Lowo, five minutes from time and it took another great delivery by Owiti for Odera to poke home in stoppage time and break the hearts of Mwatate.
In the second match played at the same venue, a second-string Gor made light work of an experienced Rangers to book a last eight slot.
K’Ogalo coach Dylan Kerr kept his word of not fielding his top players by handing forgotten men Eliud Lokuwam, Joachim Oluoch, Wesley Onguso and Raphael Asudi a rare start. Right back Wellington Ochieng, who suffered a fracture last February, also made his first start while captaining Gor.
Rangers had their big guns in Joakins Atudo, Simon Mbugua, Jerry Santo, Dennis Mukaisi and Titus Achesa among others but failed to rise to the occasion. K’Ogalo took the lead courtesy of off colour forward Kevin Omondi 10 minutes to half-time after dispossessing Atudo in Rangers’ danger area.
Omondi doubled his tally eight minutes into the second half following comical goalkeeping by Boniface Barasa in Rangers’ goal. A couple of changes by Rangers saw them pull one back through substitute Paul Odhiambo but Samuel Onyango’s third goal for K’Ogalo 12 minutes from time sealed the victory.