Sports

Talanta Hela U19: Vihiga thump wasteful Homabay in seven goal-thriller


NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – If anyone asked for a showstopping launchpad into the national finals of the Talanta Hela Under-19 football tournament, then the ‘mini Mashemeji Derby’ pitting Vihiga and Homabay Counties provided the perfect piece of entertainment.

Austin Odongo and Derrick Oketch scored twice for Vihiga, with Nelson Ombeva adding one as Vihiga stunned Homabay, beating them 5-2 at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday evening.

Homabay played the football, did everything but score. For Vihiga, coached by revered Kenyan tactician Edward Manoah, they knew the result on the board at the end of 90 minutes was all that mattered as they got in the goals with their purposed direct play.

The boys from Western Kenya raced into a 3-0 lead at halftime with goals from Odongo, Oketch and Ombeva.

Homabay threatened to come back with two goals, one from the penalty spot by Cecil Miller and another from substitute Ben Ogutu, but Odongo completed his brace with less than five minutes to play to take the game beyond reaqch.

While Odongo would claim plaudits from the double, it was keeper Malcolm Imbwaka who played an even bigger role, his saves being crucial in keeping his side chests up.

Vihiga County celebrates one of their four goals against Homabay. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Vihiga County celebrates one of their four goals against Homabay. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Homabay were punished for missed chances. In the opening 15 minutes, they should have been 2-0 up. Geofrey Omondi sent Miller through with a peach of a pass, but the latter’s shot was brilliantly saved by the Vihiga keeper.

In the 13th minute, they had an even better chance, Omondi and Miller involved again, with Omondi choosing to set up Godwin Owino with the goal at his mercy, but the latter saw his shot blocked.

For all the missed chances, Homabay were punished in the 20th minute when Oketch scored into the roof of the net on the half turn.

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Two minutes later, Odongo made it 2-0 with a well taken diving header unmarked at the backpost from a long cross off Gaston Okoth deep in his own half.

With the game seemingly heading off his grasp, the Homabay coach George Ouma made changes, bringing off skipper Samson Onyango and Godwin for Kenyatta Onyango and Ogutu.

Homabay's Tonny Adawo tries to go past a Vihiga opponent. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Homabay’s Tonny Adawo tries to go past a Vihiga opponent. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

But, despite stabilizing especially in midfield, Homabay were stunned, Vihiga scoring the third. In added time, Ombeva scored what would easily be a contestant for goal of the tournament, curling a worldie from distance with the keeper only managing to push it into the bar.

In the second half, Homabay came with some determination to get back into the game and they did so on the hour mark, Miller scoring from the spot after Kenyatta was fouled in the box by the keeper.

They kept pushing and were gifted the second in the 75th minute when Ogutu capitalized on lack of communication between the keeper and his defense, the Homabaya forward striding to score into an empty net.

Action between Homabay and Vihiga at the Nyayo National Stadium. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Action between Homabay and Vihiga at the Nyayo National Stadium. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

But, the hopes of a comeback were quashed with substitute winger Allan Litwaka changing the game.

He stole the ball off a defender on the left before squaring the ball for Odongo to round the keeper and score into an empty net.

He then did the same on the right before striking a cross into the box that was well finished by Oketch.





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