Kariobangi Sharks on Friday beat Tanzanian side Mbao FC 6-5 on post-match penalties to book a place in the final of the SportPesa Cup at Dar es Salaam National Stadium.
The final will be an all-Kenyan affair as Sharks will face off with Bandari on Sunday.
Little-known Mbao knocked out two-time champions Gor Mahia 4-3 on post-match penalties in the quarters on Wednesday.
However, Mbao were unable to replicate their heroics in the semis after the match ended 0-0 in regular time.
Sharks and Mbao both displayed a beautiful game, but none could find the back of the net.
Sharks, who beat Yanga 3-2 in the quarter-finals, started as favourites but the home side kept them at bay.
In the early minutes, Herbart Lukindo pounced on a loose ball from a poor clearance by Geoffrey Shiveka, with keeper Geoffrey Onyemba already beaten in the Sharks goal.
Joint top scorer in the tournament, Duke Abuya, came close in the 23rd minute from Harrison Mwendwa’s cross, but Mbao custodian Metacha Mnata was alert. Abuya and Bandari’s William Wadri have each scored two goals.
Man of The Match Harrison Mwenda with his cheque. /COURTESY
In the scorching Dar es Salaam heat, both sides slowed the tempo but were on the lookout for loopholes.
In the dying minutes of the first half, George Abege and Abuya came close, but their attempts were feeble.
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Sharks should have taken the lead after goalkeeper Mnata punched away a Patillah Omotto corner onto Shiveka’s path, but the defender could not take advantage.
Sharks’ coach Muluya brought in Sidney Lokale for Vincent Wasambo to sharpen the frontline.
The lanky Kenya Under 23 international made the defenders work harder and he came close in the 76th minute inside the box, but keeper Mnata held on comfortably.
Sharks’ Eric Juma came in for tired Mwenda, while James Mazembe replaced Abege.
In the penalty shootouts, Sharks’ captain Omotto’s penalty was saved by Mnata. Teammates Sven Yidah, Tom Teka, Shiveka and Nickson Omondi scored their penalties.
There was another 5-5 stalemate at the end of the shootout, sending the match to sudden death.
Mbao’s Hamim Abdulkarim hit bar, handing Sharks a 6-5 advantage.
This is the second all-Kenyan final in the SportPesa tournament. In 2017, Gor Mahia thrashed local rivals AFC Leopards 3-0 in the first tournament. This year’s event is the third edition of the Cup.
Sharks’ coach Muluya said, “We played well and expected a win but our opponents made it difficult and we went for penalties. We will prepare well for the final as we face a team we know very well.”
Man of the match Harrison Mwendwa said, “It would be nice to play against English Premier League side Everton which we only watch on TV. We will show them what we have. Everton is a strong side and our aim is to win the final and achieve our dream of facing Everton in a friendly match.”
Simba will play fellow Tanzanians Mbao in the third place play-off, while Bandari and Sharks will fight for the Sh3 million prize money.