An Ezekiel Odera goal in the 23rd minute of the first half is all Nairobi City Stars needed to see off Fortune Sacco 1-0 at the Kianyaga Stadium to proceed past Betway Cup round of 32 on Tuesday 1 June 2021.
Odera scored when he got to the end of a bouncing ball that outwitted keeper Martin Nderitu who failed to contain Sven Yidah’s cross into the box. With ease, Odera controlled the ball before placing it to an empty net.
Inside ten minutes, Fortune Sacco had fired two freekicks the City Stars way. The second was more dangerous as former Sony Sugar midfielder Vincent Oti Owino headed it marginally wide.
In the 12th minute, Fortune Sacco target man Elijah Mwanzia was well-positioned outside the box but had a feeble shot on goal that failed to trouble keeper Jacob Osano in City Stars goal
Five minutes later his counterpart Jesse Ngei fired just wide as the hosts continued to set the tone of the game as cheered on by their fans.
Then it switched City Stars way and 19 minutes into the game, striker Erick Ombija headed skipper Calvin Masawa’s corner wide.
Minutes later the near-miss led to a no-miss as Odera cooly finished off what was initiated by Yidah for the lone goal of the game.
Fortune Sacco were unfortunate in Kianyaga Grounds
— Official Nairobi City Stars Fc (@NrbCityStars) June 2, 2021
Minutes to the half hour mark, Fortune Sacco wasted two more freekicks as City Stars responded with two shots on goal, both blocked, by Elvis Noor Ojiambo.
Ebrima Sanneh, City Stars top scorer in domestic Cup competitions (6 goals), failed to narrow his header goalward in the 37th minute after being served up perfectly by an Ojiambo freekick.
Action in the first half ended when Mwanzia, while in the box, fired backward, instead of goalward, after being picked perfectly by a precise Nicodemus Okanga pass from the right.
Within the first quarter of the second half, Ombija had two promising chances to score but missed both.
To add fluidity upfront, Fortune Sacco coach Frank Kim brought in Babu Kisayi for Jacob Wangui at the hour mark.
Two minutes after the changes, Sanneh failed to connect to Edwin Buliba’s high cross from the right, and, in end-to-end action, Fortune Sacco had an immediate response on the other end when Mwanzia got to the end of a cross from Okanga only to fire across goal to the dismay of his coaches.
Minutes later, with a clear view of the goal, Fortune Sacco’s Shadrack Kawa skied a shot after another good cross from Okanga.
As the game wore on, City Stars had the chance to increase their lead but two attempts by Ojiambo and Ombija, and a header from stopper Wycliffe Otieno all went begging.
Fortune Sacco tweaked their game a little by bringing on homeboy Bonface Njeru for Kawa to great applause from the home fans.
City Stars then rolled down the clock with the arrival of Davis Beast Agesa and Nicholas Kikpkirui for Maloba and Ombija, respectively, in added time.
With the win, City Stars proceeds to the round of 16 to face either Sofapaka or Ulinzi Stars on Sunday 6 June 2021.
City Stars earned a date with Fortune Sacco in the round of 32 after seeing off Mutomo Tigers 4-1 during the starting game of the tournament back in mid-February 2021 at the Kitui Stadium.
Fortune Sacco: 1. Melvin Nderitu (GK), 15. Nepot Mwangi, 11. Isaiah Ongwe, 14. Brian Mandela, 12. Henry Kinyua, 2. Shadrack Kawa (8. Bonface Njeru-74), 3. Jacob Wangui (10. Babu Kisayi-60), 6. Vincent Owino, 13. Jesse Ngei, 16. Nicodemus Okanga, 17. Elijah Mwanzia
Unsused subs: 1. Quelen Awange, 5. Omar Sarai, 7. Ronald Mendo, 4. Ziyadi Kiwanuka, 9. Brian Omondi
Coach: Frank Kim, Team Manager: Julius Kariuki
Nairobi City Stars: 16. Jacob OSano (GK), 12. Edwin Buliba, 4. Salim Abdalla, 22. Wycliffe Otieno, 8. Calvin Masawa, 18. Sven Yidah, 2. Elvis Noor Ojiambo, 21. Oliver Maloba (17. Nicholas Kipkirui-90+2), 24. Erick Ombija (Davis Agesa-90+3), 32. Ezekiel Odera (Herit Mungai-79), 29. Ebrima Sanneh (7. Rodgers Okumu-69)
Unused subs: 1. Elvis Ochoro (GK), 25. Kenedy Onyango, 5. Wesley Onguso, 10. Peter Opiyo, 30. Anthony Kimani
Coach: Sanjn Alagic, Team Manager: Noah Abich
Yellow cards: Fortune Sacco – 8. Bonface Njeru-89, 10. Babu Kisayi-90+5//Nairobi City Stars – 32. Ezekiel Odera-23, 2. Elvis Noor Ojiambo-43, 16. Jacob Osano (67), 21. Oliver Maloba-88