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KENYA: Sofapaka advance to group stages of Confederations Cup

[Posted 09 May 2011]
[By Charles Malingha]
KENYA: Sofapaka advance to group stages of Confederations Cup

Sofapaka F.C advanced to group stages of CAF confederations Cup on Sunday after defeating DR Congo’s St Eloi Lupopo 1-0 at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi. John Baraza scored in the 90th minute to send the Kenyan side to the group stages of the competition.

When it all seemed to be heading for a goalless draw that would have knocked Sofapaka out of the competition on a 2-1 aggregate, substitute Thomas Wanyama sent in a cross that Baraza cooly controlled to beat Lupopo keeper Kikanda Kaniki for the famous win.

The visitors won the first leg match 2-1 in Lubumbashi.

The first half ended in a barren draw but it was Sofapaka who dictated the pace, missing several scoring opportunities.

Baraza was the main tormentor, creating numerous chances to wrap up the match for the Kenyans, but the St Eloi Lupopo ’keeper Kaniki was up to the task.

Baraza first missed a scoring opportunity in the 18th minute failing to hit the target from five yards.

Then in the 41st minute, he cut through the Lupopo defence but Bob Mugalia wasted the resultant cross with Kaniki blocking from close range.

Two minutes later, Baraza failed to convert a neat pass from John Njoroge after a brilliant move from Titus Mulama.

Lupopo too had their chances. Jason Etekama failed to hit the target after rounding the Sofapaka defence in the 23rd minute. Then six minutes later, Zimbabwean Carrington Gomba’s shot went inches wide.

Sofapaka coach, Francis Kimanzi, brought in Patrick Kagogo for Anthony Kimani in the 50th minute, a change that brought more attacking options and, later, the coach withdrew defender John Njorge and brought in striker John Onami.

The move brought in some fire power with Mugalia and Onami missing sitters.

But it was Wanyama, in for Bob Mugalia, who did the trick with the 90th minute assist for Baraza’s goal that sent Sofapaka into the group stages where they will be joined by eight teams relegated from the CAF Champions League.

While Lupopo coach Milosevic Nozar was left consoling his players, Kimanzi was elated, saying his boys have proved they can rise to the occasion.

"It was a tough game but we defended well and kept on attacking. Now we can strategise for the next stage," Kimanzi said.

Sofapaka’s patron, vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka, on Sunday night congratulated the team on the famous victory.


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