Sony Sugar goalkeeper Allan Owiny gifted Ulinzi Stars their equalizing goal but redeemed himself in the penalty shoot-outs, saving Mohammed ‘Rio’ Hassan’s spot-kick as his team entered the Top 8 semifinals with a 5-4 win.
The two sides could not be separated at the final whistle which ended 1-1, Oscar Wamalwa having canceled out Marwa Chamberi’s opener for the visitors.
Ulinzi, winners of the inaugural Top 8 edition in 2011, had the better chances either side of the half but failed to make full use even after Sony were reduced to 10 men with Hamidu Kwizera receiving a second bookable offence.
Amwayi hits the post
In an opening half of few chances, winger Kevin Amwayi came closest to opening the scoring in the match but his effort kissed Alan Owiny’s crossbar on its way out.
Sony began the second half quick and took the lead through Chamberi who worked his way into the Ulinzi box before unleashing a rasping effort that went past Francis Ochieng.
The Soldiers almost responded immediately but John Makwatta failed to beat Owiny at near post and was substituted immediately.
Wamalwa should have set up a free Amwayi to tap in, in the 64th minute, but the lanky forward allowed selfishness to creep in as Sony hoofed the ball to safety.
Kwizera sent off
The alarm bells continued to ring at Sony’s goal mouth as the Soldiers raided consistently. The hosts’ job was made a lot easier when Kwizera was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 75th minute. Ulinzi capitalized fully as three minutes later, Wamalwa made up for his early miss, heading home a cross from a corner which Owiny needlessly conceded.
Owiny and Sony players protested but referee James Kagera allowed the goal to stand while the keeper was given a yellow card for his troubles.
Ulinzi keeper Ochieng has carved himself out as a danger man in dead ball situations and he had a chance to win it for the hosts but sent his effort way over the bar, the last meaningful effort in goal.
With the match tied 1-1 at full time, the game went to penalties which Sony won after Owiny saved Hassan’s kick while the visitors tucked home all of their five takes. Robert Matano’s men have now failed to get the better of the sugar belt outfit in their last 6 meetings in all competitions. Sony won 2-0 at Afraha in their first leg league meeting while they also came from a goal behind to draw 1-1 in the return leg at Awendo.
Ulinzi Stars Starting XI: Francis Ochieng (GK), Brian Birgen, Rodgers Omondi, Geoffrey Kokoyo, Mohammed Hassan, Boniface Onyango, John Nairuka, Churcill Muloma, Oscar Wamalwa, John Makwatta, Kevin Amwayi
Subs: J. Odhiambo, Mureithi, Waweru, Apul, Enosh, Otuoma, Amwoka
Sony Sugar Starting XI: 22. Allan Owiny(GK), 4. Hamidu Kwizera, 2. Bruno Charles 3.Olare Samwel, 26 .Onyango Alred, 6 Ayugi Victor , 9. Asembeka Amos, 29. Sekayombya Andrew, 7. Marwa Chamberi, 15. Justin Monda 25 .Omunuk Robert
Subs: 35. Omondi Kevin (GK), 16. Akoko Nicholas, 27. Kopany Herbert 11. Vincent Ogutu, 5. Sylvester Wanyama 19.Edwin Oduor 30.Amos Nondi
Follow us on Twitter: @Four4TwoMedia