MATHARE REMAIN FOCUSED: Champions dump Gor Mahia out of U-20 tournament

Gor Mahia's Stephen Otieno (left) and Samuel Semo of Mathare United fight for ball possession during 3rd Edition of SportPesa KPL U20 tournament at Camp Toyoyo on Thursday, Dec 30, 2016. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Mathare United inched closer to Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Under-20 title defence after defeating Gor Mahia 3-1 in the semi-final, yesterday at Camp Toyoyo Grounds.

Gor went ahead in the 25th minute through Hillary Ojwang, but goals from Abdalla Ahmed and John Mwangi assured the Slum Boys of passage to the final. Ahmed ensured parity with his 49th minute goal, before Mwangi put the game beyond Gor with strikes in the 79th and 85th minutes.

On their way to the semis, Gor Mahia defeated Muhoroni Youth 1-0, while Mathare United defeated Western Stima 2-1 in the other quarter-final match.

Speaking after the match, Mathare United coach Yusuf Chipo praised his opponents for a brave performance, adding that league officials need to investigate the menace of age-cheating.

"Gor played well in the first half, but we came in stronger in the second half and I'm happy we won the match. It feels good to defeat a big team like Gor Mahia, who have invested a lot in youth development programs.

"While at it, these cases of age-cheating has continued to be a bother to most of us. I plead with officials to look into the matter. This will help us in having a competitive league, which is a true reflection of our goals.

"I think the ongoing CAF club licencing exercise will help reduce the issue of age-cheating issues in Kenya because the federation will have all the data," he said.

Gor Mahia coach Morris Onyango said his charges failed to contain their opponents, especially in the second half.

"Defensive lapse cost the team, but we will work on the mistakes before our next match," he said.

Gor started the match on a high tempo, as they controlled proceedings with ease. Their efforts were rewarded in the 25th minute when Ojwang scored the opener.

In the second half, Mathare United were the stronger side as they equalised in the 49th minute through Ahmed.

After ensuring parity, Mathare did not relent and sustained attacks from the flanks, while effectively containing their opponents' attack line.

Mathare conceded a corner in the 67th minute, but their goalkeeper parried to safety. With time moving fast, Mathare pilled more pressure on Gor, with Ahmed turning provider for Mwangi, who tapped in his team's second goal in the 79th minute.

With five minutes to full-time, Ahmed combined well with Mwangi, who scored his second.

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