Gritty Ulinzi closing in on league title

Sep 19, 2010

As was widely expected, Ulinzi Stars took advantage of their rivals floundering fortunes to open up a significant six-point lead at the top of the KPL standings. Chester Okoyo's 68th minute strike was all that the league leaders needed to seal an important victory over 10-men Mathare United on Sunday at the City Stadium.

With the win, the military side has taken a giant step to what will be a fourth Premier League title with only 6 matches left to play.

Earlier on at the same venue, Tusker FC threw away their chances of closing in on the runaway leaders after twice surrendering lead to a hard fighting Nairobi City Stars who drew the match 2-2.

The results lifts Ulinzi to 48 points, while Gor Mahia and Sofapaka, who battled to a one-all draw on Wednesday evening stay second and third on 42 and 41 points respectively. Tusker is forth on 41 points but with an inferior goal difference to Sofapaka.

The luckless Mathare United drop from fifth to six after being leapfrogged by a resurgent Sony Sugar. The sugar millers' impressive run continued on Saturday when they dispatched Western Stima 2-0 in Awendo.

After doing their 'big bothers' (Gor Mahia) a big favour last weekend by coming from behind to beat Tusker FC 2-1, Sony Sugar was clearly in no mood to do anyone favours as Joshua Oyoo and Dan Odhiambo struck either side of halftime to hoist the sugar belt team to 34 points, one ahead of Mathare United.

All is not lost though for the chasing pack of three as Ulinzi Stars still have a date with Tusker, Western Stima and Sony Sugar in their next three matches. The outcome of these fixtures will either make or break Benjamin Nyangweso’s hopes of adding to their three previous league conquests (2003-05).

The destiny of the 2010 KPL trophy is undoubtedly pegged on the outcome of these matches.

At the rare end of the table, Mahakama's hope of escaping the big drop received a huge dent after they were beaten 2-1 by Karuturi Sports in the latter 'Old Trafford' Stadium. The flower men's leading scorer Allan Otindo notched a brace to revive his team's hope of finishing in the upper half of the table.

Also on Saturday at the same venue, 'banished' AFC Leopards' Itubu Imbem similarly struck twice (26th and 68th minute) to salvage a point for 'Ingwe' against a stubborn Red Berets. The paramilitary team's goals came through James Musasa (32 min) and Andrew Manyasi (52nd min).

KCB is the other team that registered positive results after beating fellow strugglers Posta Rangers 3-2 at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday. The win takes the bankers into safety zone in position 12 with 25 points - one more than the mailmen.

However, third from bottom Chemelil Sugar got a temporary reprieve after being awarded a priceless walkover occasioned by visiting team Thika United's failure to furnish match officials with the prerequisite players cards.

Both teams had agreed to play out the first period as Thika United awaited the shipment of the cards. But by halftime - which ended scoreless - the cards had still not been delivered and centre referee Haji Adede was left with no option other than awarding the match to the home team.


Weekend Collated results:

Red Berets              2:2     AFC Leopards    

Posta Rangers    2:3     KCB

Chemelil Sugar    2:0    Thika United

Karuturi Sports   2:1     Mahakama   

SonySugar     2:0             Western Stima    

Nairobi City Stars    2:2    Tusker

Mathare United     0:1 Ulinzi Stars


Steve Omondi

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