National Super League side Modern Coast Rangers FC put up a spirited fight but bowed out of the SportPesa Shield after losing 3-1 to Kariobangi Sharks at Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa on Saturday.
Modern Coast were 1-0 up after 17 minutes through Francis Ocholla but Sharks were 2-1 ahead at half time after goals by James Mazembe and an own goal by Rangers captain Naftali Amayo. Duke Abuya netted the visitors third goal in the second half.
Kariobangi Sharks assistant coach Collins Omondi said his players underrated their opponents in the first 45 minutes but took the game seriously in the second half to win. Sharks, losing finalists last year, are now through to the quarter-finals.
“Rangers is a tough team and I’m happy that we managed to win and booked our place in the last eight. We are now preparing for our next SportPesa Premier League fixture against Bandari on Saturday here at Mbaraki,” said Omondi.
Rangers head coach Abdulnassir Kassim said he was satisfied with the performance of his players especially in the first half where they pinned their opponents into their territory.
“The big blunder the players made in the last half was to concentrate on defending. Had they attacked the way they did in the first half, we could have equalised and won it,” said Kassim.
In other SportPesa Shield matches played on Saturday, River Plate beat Friend Zone 2-0 at Narok Stadium while Kenya Police eliminated giant-killers Leysa 4-3 on post-match penalties after both teams settled for a barren draw in 90 minutes at the same venue.
Back at Mbaraki, the game started at a cracking pace with the home team looking for an early lead. It took them 17 minutes to take the lead when Nahashon Waweru sent a powerful shot which Sharks goalkeeper Brian Bwire failed to deal with, allowing Ocholla to easily tap the ball home.
The goal sent a wake up call to the visitors who started to raid and were rewarded in the 27th minute when Henri Juma beat the onrushing Rangers goalkeeper Ryan Musa, the ball hit the side post before Mazembe pounced to level matters.