Tusker custodian Samwel Odhiambo eased pressure on under fire tactician Robert Matano scoring from the spot and saving one to help his side triumph
Samwel Odhiambo was the hero for Tusker FC scoring a penalty and saving one to hand his side a 5-3 win over Thika United in the finals of the KPL Top 8 tournament on post match penalties at City Stadium on Wednesday.The two teams tied at 2-2 in regulation time, David King’atua and Ismail Dunga both scoring a brace for their sides, forcing the winner of the third edition of the tournament to be decided on penalties.
On the spot- kicks, Tusker were the first to convert and Ismail Dunga was composed to take the brewers into the lead. Vincent Otieno responded with an equally well taken kick for Thika to tally the scores at 1-1.
Custodian Samwel Odhiambo faced his opposite number Indeche, and the Tusker keeper never disappointed finding the bottom right of the net, Indeche going the wrong way.
Odhiambo turned back into goal coming into the rescue of Tusker, saving off Ezekiel Odera’s penalty to give Tusker the advantage. Despite Sammy Mejja and Simon Mbugua converting their kicks, Ali Abondo and Collins Okoth scored theirs with Ugandan Khalid Aucho delivering the silverware with the winning spot-kick.
Thika had started the game off well pressing early, Kepha Aswani twice coming close. Ultimately, David King’atua justified the Sh200, 000 price Thika paid to get his services from Nairobi City Stars with a wonderful left foot swinger after Sammy Mejja had swung in a cross from the left.
But their celebrations would be abruptly cut short just three minutes on, Ismail Dunga converting from 12 yards out. Vincent Otieno had handled inside the box from Robert Omunuk’s shot after Dinga had curled in a cross from the right.
With the game even, Thika sought to get back to the lead, being urged on by coach John Kamau. Aswani was overly dangerous and he had another effort on the half hour mark go just over after David King’atua had dispossessed Collins Okoth to pass to Aswani at the top of the box.
Going into the second half on level terms, it was always expected the two would go sword to sword in attack being a cup final. However, action in front of both goals reduced until the 75th minute when Dunga completed his brace.
The former Sony Sugar man looped over an advancing Lucas Indeche after David Ochieng’s searching ball from deep within his half found Dunga on top of the area. Coach Kamau would not let go of the fight and he motivated his boys to keep on the fight.
Just like they have done throughout the tournament, Thika had some late answers and David Kingatua also completed his brace, converting from Wycliffe Opondo’s cross. Opondo had done the damage on the left cutting into the box and pulling a square pass into the top of the six yard box, King’atua smashing the spoils home.
With the game tied at 2-2, the winner had to be decided after an extra 30 minutes but still, none of the two would smash the back of the net. The win now settles the pressure on Robert Matano as he now gets good footing back into the league.