NAKURU, Kenya- Seasoned forward Allan Wanga scored a brace as Kakamega Homeboyz FC sensationally dumped record Tanzanian league winners Yanga SC out in the opening 2018 SportPesa Super Cup quarterfinal at the Afraha Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Substitute Wycliffe Opondo notched a late third as the second edition of the eight-team tournament started with a bang after Simon Matheo had halved the deficit in the first half for Yanga with a sumptous free-kick.
As promised before the encounter, Homeboyz delivered a giant-killing act that piled more misery on the Yanga side that recently surrendered their Vodacom Premier League title to arch rivals Simba SC.
Ugandan Paul Nkata, who won the 2016 SportPesa Premier League title with Tusker FC, was left beaming at a result that left his side needing only two more victories to win the cup to clinch the dream ticket of playing against English Premier League side, Everton FC at Goodison Park.
“The attitude was great from the players today and I’m proud that they got the win. It was no surprise that we won because we were well prepared for the encounter and I’m just grateful that we held on for this important victory.
“Though we won, the level of football wasn’t great and there are things we need to work on as we go into the semis,” Nkata who succeeded Mike Mururi as Homeboyz head coach enthused.
With their pride punctured, the Dar titans were left to rue what might have been after their mission to better their 2017 Super Cup performance where they lost to another Kenyan side, AFC Leopards SC on post-match penalties at the semis in Tanzania collapsed in spectacular fashion.
“It was a tough game today and credit to the Kenyans for coming out victorious. We didn’t make the most of the chances we had and that cost us but it was great to come here to play in the SportPesa Super Cup.
“We definitely need to restrategize and we will be back to show what Yanga is capable of,” Yanga coach, Noel Mwandile said in attempting to put on a brave face after being humbled by a side that is ninth on the SportPesa Premier League log.
Both sides began well enjoying an equal share of the possession with neither side getting a clear shot on goal until the seventh minute when Matheo took too long to get the ball out from under his feet making it easy for Michael Wanyika to gather.
The half went on without too much action till the 16th when the Homeboyz players and staff angrily shouted in unison as they appealed for a penalty for a foul on Wanga but to no avail as the referee awarded the Kenyans a corner.
Homeboyz star midfielder Moses Mudavadi went on an amazing run in the 23rd, skipping past two Yanga players before unleashing a left-footed shot that went inches wide of Youth Rostande’s goal.
Two minutes later it was the Kenyans again threatening with Noah Wafula’s shot going wide of the Yanga goal.
Their efforts were rewarded in the 25th when Kenyan international Wanga latched onto an Ali Bhai through ball to score, giving Homeboyz a 1-0 lead.
The goal seemed to unsettle Yanga as they began to launch attacks toward Michael Wanyika’s goal and it was through Matheo’s goal but went harmlessly wide.
On the half hour mark, Wanga was brought down in the danger area and he stepped up to calmly convert the resulting penalty to give Homeboyz a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Yanga responded brilliantly with an absolute beauty of a free-kick in the 39th by their danger man Matheo to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
The second half began with the same pace that the first ended with Homeboyz going closest in the opening few minutes from a free kick that the keeper misjudged but managed to gather eventually.
Homeboyz threatened to restore the two-goal cushion in the 55th when Wanga attempted an overhead kick and the follow-up by Moses Chikati went straight into the side netting.
Two minutes later Maka Mwakalukwa shot from 30 yards in a desperate search of that equalising goal but it went wide of the Homeboyz goal.
Two-goal hero Wanga seemed to be carrying a knock and was substituted on the hour as replaced 22-year old striker Hassan Kikoyo came on in his place.
Juma Mahadhi came off and was replaced by Amissi Tambwe as Yanga continued to search for the elusive equaliser that would at least take the knockout tie to penalties.
Noah Wafula had a fantastic opportunity to set a counter-attack going in the 70th but selfish play saw him take a shot that went recklessly wide of the goal.
Yanga resounded with yet another substitution as Yussuf Mhilu came on in place of goalscorer Matheo.
Homeboyz then made their second change of the game in the 75th with Wycliffe Opondo coming on to replace Ali Bhai, with the coach looking to hold on to the 2-1 lead.
Yanga had a goal ruled out for offside with 10 minutes of regulation time left to play, as the game became rather heated with both sides looking to be the first side into the SportPesa Super Cup semis.
The match was then temporarily suspended as Mudavadi was stretchered off the field to receive medical attention after being on the receiving end of a horrendous challenge by Mwinyi Mgwali, that resulted in the first booking of the encounter.
Substitute Wycliffe Opondo got the icing on the cake with the third goal for Homeboyz in the 86th minute after Mudavadi squared the ball to him for an easy tap into Yanga goal.
Wafula was taken off with two minutes left in the game and was replaced by George Mandela as the Kenyans seemed to be on course to be the first side to book a slot in the semis of the second annual knockout tournament.
They weren’t done yet as an explosive counter attack led to a teasing cross into the box which was met by a fantastic diving header from Eston Esiye which rattled the up-right much to crowds cheer.
Homeboyz will now await the winners of the Kariobangi Sharks and Simba SC set to be played at the same venue on Monday.
Kakamega Homeboyz FC
Michael Wanyika 13, Hedmond Mauda 7, Collins Kisuya 12, Smith Ouko 26, Benjamin Oketch 34, Moses Shikati 15, Moses Mudavadi 10, Estone Esiye 2, Allan Wanga 11, Ali Bhai 24, Noah Wafula 27
Arthur Arakala, David Juma 32, Wilson Anekeya 42, Andrew Waiswa 40, Hassan Kikoyo 99, Wycliffe Opondo 5, George Odiwour 20, Keiphas Mutuu 17, George Mandela 21
Coach: Paul Nkata
Youthe Rostand 30, Hassan Ramadhan 25, Mwinyi Mgwali 20, Abdallah Shaibu 6, Said Ali 22, Maka Mwakalukwa 8, Papy Tshishimbi 24, Matheo Simon 14, Puts Buswita 3, Banyan Akilimali 27
Ramadhan Kabwili 1, Pato Ngonyani 15, Raphael Loth 29, Yusuf Mialu 26, Yohana Mkomola 9, Thabani Kamusoko 13, Ibrahim Migomba 10, Tambwe Amissi 17, Said Bakari 4
Coach Noel Mwandila