21 April 2019

Namibia: //Kharas Dethrone Champions

//KHARAS ended Omaheke's reign with a nerve-wrecking Newspaper Cup semi-final 4-3 penalty shootout victory at the Mariental Sports Stadium on Sunday.

This came after their largely uneventful match ended in goalless stalemate in regulation time.

//Kharas goalkeeper Fritz Narib was arguably the hero, saving two spot kicks, including Omaheke's final effort after which Johannes Rooi, who initially was reluctant to take the sudden death kick, blasted high into the roof to send his side through to the title decider on Monday.

The southerners could have avoided the lottery of the shootout had they been more clinical inside the regulation 70 minutes. //Kharas wasted several chances in the match and it appeared Omaheke, who adopted a stifling style for the most part, would snatch an unlikely victory in similar fashion to how they delivered a sucker-punch on hosts Hardap in their Group eliminator a day earlier.

Dandre Both and Petrus Kharab tested Omaheke shot-stopper Rigobert Araeb with two rasping drives inside 10 minutes but the keeper was up to the task.

The match then went into a lull before Omaheke got a chance with half-time looming, but Omaheke's Ririkeho Tjongarero scuffed his shot from inside the penalty area, following a swift counter attack, with the ball trickling into a grateful Narib's hands.

The match continued in a similar pattern after the break, with //Kharas pushing for a breakthrough and Omaheke content to sit back and play on the counter.

On 50 minutes, winger Heinrich Plaatjies struck the bar with a fierce free kick and substitute forward Franklin Witbooi steered the rebound narrowly wide.

Two minutes later, Omaheke winger Mentholius Taseb missed a sitter, fluffing his lines and failing to tap in under the crossbar after being teed up by hard-running striker Betuel Muzeu with a delightful cross.

//Kharas had one more chance to snatch victory, but Araeb acrobatically pulled off a double save to deny Witbooi first and then Jaco Engelbrecht with a minute left to play.

Man of the match was midfielder Simeon Namondi of //Kharas.

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