No change as AFC Leopards, Mathare and Tusker win

By alex wafula
Apr 10, 2016
  • AFC Leopards' Simon Abuko celebrates scoring a goal against Sofapaka. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

The status quo at the top of the SportPesa-sponsored Kenya Premier League standings was retained after all of the top three sides won their matches.

Leaders Tusker beat Western Stima 2-1 away, second-placed AFC Leopards came from behind to win by the same margin against struggling Sofapaka while Mathare United scored late to beat Sony Sugar 1-0.

At the Nyayo National Stadium, AFC Leopards who lost to City Stars last weekend found themselves tilted off balance when Sofapaka scored after only one minute.

Brian Nyakan hit the ball home from inside the box after Yakubu Ramadhan’s effort at clearing the ball away from Patrick Mugendi backfired, Nyakan picking the ball and hitting low into the bottom left. The goal rattled Ingwe who immediately responded.

Kepha Aswani, who was celebrating his birthday found the back of the net in the 13th minute, heading  from inside the box after Simon Abuko headed into his direction a deep cross from Hedmond Mauda.

But before the goal, Aswani was guilty of missing two glorious chances in the second and sixth minutes. His first attempt was with a header from an Andrew Tololwa free kick in the second minute but Barnabas Tiema proved equal to the task with an easy pick.

His second was even easier, but he miscued his shot in the sixth minute from another assist from Tololwa.

Sofapaka’s bursting start slowed and AFC Leopards dictated the pace. They were forced into an early sub, Mugendi limping out injured and his place taken by Jackson Oketch in the 17th minute.

Ingwe piled pressure and Barnabas Tiema in the Sofapaka goal, himself a former AFC Leopards man had to stay alert. The keeper pulled off a superb save in the 20th minute tipping away Aswani’s header from a Yussuf Juma cross.

On the half hour mark, the misfiring AFC Leopards had back to back chances, Mauda’s shot from the right being blocked a few yards from the goal line with the keeper out while Tololwa’s follow up went  over the bar.

Baraza forced to substitute

John Baraza, standing in for David Ouma who has been away in Algeria with the national women team was forced into another substition ten minutes to the break, center back Ronald Ouma being stretchered out and his place taken by Collins Omondi.

Batoto ba Mungu contained the tide until half time and Baraza threw in his last dice of the game at the start of the second period, Gerald Bagoole coming on for goal scorer Nyakan.

Ivan Minnaert, the AFC Leopards coach responded by bringing on Bernard Ongoma and Allan Katterega for Victor Omune and Mauda respectively. Katterega who had been criticized by his coach for failing to impact the game lived up to his super sub title.

He made an almost immediate impact, winning a free kick in a dangerous position on the right but Yussuf Juma sent it straight to the wall. Tiema then pulled off another superb save on 62 minutes, leaping to his left to punch away an effort from Tololwa, the former Mathare man having done well to create space for himself inside the box from an intelligent Miheso pass.

The pressure Ingwe started with in the second period bore fruit, Simon Abuko scoring a bouncing header unmarked at the far post from a brilliant Katterega free kick in the 67th minute.

Six minutes later, Sofapaka whose chances in front of goal had become a rarity should have equalized but Lucas Indeche sprinted off his line to sweep the ball off Jackson Oketch’s feet.

Ten minutes from time, Indeche tipped over a dangerous free kick from Robert Binja as Leopards managed to hold on to the single goal lead.

Tusker bounce back

At the Moi Stadium in Kisumu, Tusker found themselves down with Wesley Kemboi hitting the opener in the 11th minute. They bounced back with Eugene Asike heading them level on 37 minutes. Substitute Michael Khamati scored the winner three minutes from time, his third of the season.

“It was a tough match but I am glad we won. We have had a very good away record and today, the substitutes did the job well for me,” Tusker coach Paul Nkata said after the match.

Mathare United too ensured they were not left out of the party and they had to look on substitute Derrick Onyango who scored in the 87th minute to give them a slender 1-0 win over Sony Sugar. It was a cagy match with both teams not giving much.

Sony’s best chance was in the first half when Robert Omunuk’s curling freekick was wonderfully palmed away by Mathare keeper Robert Mboya in the 19th minute. Pressure continues to mount on Sony coach Leonard Odipo who is yet to pick a win after eight matches but he remains optimistic his side will come good.

“At the moment we have to do with what we have. We are in this situation not because we are poor but because of internal politics. I believe we would be better off had we concentrated on putting the team together. But I am hopeful we will bounce back,” Odipo said after the match.

Saturday results: AFC Leopards 2 Sofapaka 1, Mathare United 1 Sony Sugar 0 (Nyayo Stadium), Kakamega Homeboyz 1 City Stars 0 (Mumias), Western Stima 1 Tusker FC 2 (Kisumu).

Sunday fixtures: Posta Rangers v Ulinzi Stars, Gor Mahia v Ushuru FC (Nyayo Stadium), Chemelil v Thika United (Chemelil), Muhoroni v Bandari (Muhoroni).