Kenya’s Okumu and Ghana’s Owusu lift Belgian Cup with KAA Gent after downing Anderlecht

Kenya defender Joseph Okumu of KAA Gent.Getty.

Kenya international Joseph Okumu and Ghana’s Elisha Owusu played vital roles as KAA Gent clinched the Belgian Cup after a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory against Anderlecht at King Baudouin Stadium on Monday.

It was the first trophy for the two African players since they moved to Gent. While Okumu played for the entirety of the game that went to extra-time, Owusu was introduced in the 106th minute for Sven Kums.

After the game ended 0-0 after extra time, penalties had to be used to decide the winner, and it was Gent who took the first kick which was converted by Julien de Sart past Hendrik van Crombrugge.

Anderlecht, who are handled by former Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany, also scored their first penalty through Sergio Gomez, Andreas Hanche-Olsen then made it 2-1 for Gent before Benito Raman made no mistake with Anderlecht’s second for a 2-2 score.

Alessio Castro-Montes then stepped up for Gent and scored the third, Marco Kana made it 3-3 for Anderlecht before Darko Lemajic struck home the fourth for Gent. However, Josh Cullen saw his effort saved by Davy Roef, and Gent could have won the game but Cameroon international Michael Ngadeu saw his effort saved by Crombrugge.

Ngadeu’s miss gave Anderlecht a chance to level matters but Michael Murillo’s weak effort was easily saved by Roef to help Gent triumph 4-3 and lift the trophy.

During the game, Okumu twice saved Gent from going behind, his first block coming in the 24th minute after an inswinging cross from a corner-kick was lashed home by Christian Kouame but he put his body on the line to block the effort.

The Kenya international's second vital tackle was in the 44th minute when he used his height to stretch and put the ball out after Joshua Zirkzee had been put through on goal.

Since joining Gent from IF Elfsborg at the start of the season, Okumu has managed 27 appearances in the Belgian top-flight but is yet to score for the side.

Meanwhile, Owusu was introduced in extra time but he could not find the back of the net. The 24-year-old, who made his debut for the Black Stars in the recent 2022 World Cup play-off fixture against Nigeria, has made 29 appearances for Gent in all competitions so far this season.

Owusu, who is a youth product of Olympique Lyonnais, joined Gent on a four-year deal in 2019.