Tusker beat Mathare to move second

By alex wafula
May 20, 2017
  • Mathare United David Mwangi tackles Tusker Allan Wanga. Tusker FC won 2-0 to go second on the KPL table. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Tusker FC, the Kenyan Premier League defending champions moved to within a point of leaders Gor Mahia after picking up a 2-0 win over struggling Mathare United in Ruaraka on Saturday.

This was the sixth successive win for the side which started the season on a low.

Mike Khamati and Shafik Batambuze scored a goal in either half as the brewers collected three points.

“The confidence has come in. We are now playing better and winning six games in a row is not a joke. We have shown everybody that we should not be written off,” George Nsimbe, the Tusker coach said after the match.

Mathare slumped to a fourth consecutive loss as they dipped to 16th on the log, just a point above bottom-placed Thika United.

Francis Kimanzi, the Mathare head coach is confident his young side will get their groove on, saying they are picking losses.

“Sometimes, it is very frustrating when you lose having played well. Today is one of those days that you give entirely a good performance but you don’t get to score. We are still yearning and these boys are capable of getting back to winning,” Kimanzi told Sports News Arena.

Within the opening two minutes, Tusker were 1-0 up. Mike Khamati was put through by George Mandela and the striker struck to the far post with his weaker left foot.

Immediate response

It was a goal that took Mathare by surprise as they were yet to get their feet grounded.

They sought an immediate response, but Chris Onyango’s shot from a Cliff Nyakeya pass could not trouble Duncan Ochieng in the Tusker goal.

It was a frantic start to the match with both sides not being afraid to attack. Mathare were the ones with the chances again with skipper George Owino striking wide from a long range.

Chris Ochieng had a pale effort after powering past Collins Shakava into the box.

Tusker should have doubled their lead in the 13th minute but Jackson Macharia’s effort with Wycliffe Kasaya off his line was awry.

Humphrey Mieno had another superb opportunity 10 minutes later from an Allan Wanga cut back but he could not connect the ball from six yards out.

Tusker had taken control of the game, lowering the tempo while keeping possession.

Mathare were using their speed to try and get an attack at goal, but Tusker with their experience slowed the tempo down whenever they won the ball.

Mieno and Hashim Ssempala were a superb pair in midfield, with Ssempala especially working hard to win possession and distribute the ball.

Ndonye shot straight to the keeper

Once, Mathare’s pace paid off but Alphonce Ndonye shot straight to the keeper after a beat pass from Daniel Mwaura.

Contrary to Tusker, Mathare were not patient with their build up and always thought of bursting into attack even when the numbers in the opponent half were not in their favor.

Mathare resumed with a changed attitude in the second half and their attacks took  more shape.

The introduction of Tyson Otieno for Nyakeya proved to be a masterstroke as the youngster’s pace and trickery on the ball proved too much to handle for the Tusker backline.

However, there was nothing to open up goals in the final ball. Ndonye should have equalized in the 58th minute after Duncan Ochieng clashed with his defenders going for an aerial ball, but he took too many touches on the ball allowing the defense to bounce back and block his eventual shot.

Mathare continued to exert pressure, forcing Tusker to play on the backfoot. But finishing was their biggest undoing. They built up well, but when they got to the final third, they couldn’t hit the bull’s eye.

They were punished for failing to maximize on their possession 15 minutes from time.

Batambuze quickest to react

Keeper Wycliffe Kasaya who earned a starting place ahead of Levis Opiyo started the ball to Chris Onyango but Tusker’s Batambuze was quickest to react, poking the ball off the midfielder’s feet before racing into the box and shooting low.

The goal was like a pin on a balloon and Mathare’s drive for an equalizer was deflated. They were almost getting a consolation in the dying minutes, but Onyango saw two chances go begging.

His first effort was with a curling effort which went over after seeing Ochieng off his line. A minute later, his diving header from close range off a Martin Ongori cross hit the upright.

Meanwhile, AFC Leopards’ struggles continued after they lost 0-1 away to Kakamega Homeboyz in Mumias.

Former Ingwe striker Lamin Diallo who was offloaded from the team last June scored the decisive goal late on after coming in as a substitute.

AFC Leopards are now winless in their last six matches and this was a fourth loss over the same count of games.

In Kericho, hosts Zoo Kericho shocked Bandari with a 3-2 score-line. This was the new boys’ first win at home this season and their third in the league.

Enock Agwanda and Shabaan Kenga’s goals were not enough for the dockers with Bernard Odhiambo striking a hatrick. The win takes Zoo Kericho to 13th on the log.

KPL Weekend Results and Fixtures, (Kick off 3 p.m.)

Saturday: Kakamega Homeboyz 1 AFC Leopards 0 (Mumias), Mathare United 0 Tusker FC 2 (Ruaraka Complex), Muhoroni Youth 0 Nzoia 3 (Muhoroni), Sofapaka 0 Kariobangi Sharks 0 (Narok Stadium), Zoo Kericho 3 Bandari 2 (Kericho Green Stadium).

Sunday: Gor Mahia v Thika United (Nyayo Stadium), Nakumatt v Chemelil Sugar (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), SoNy Sugar v Western Stima (Awendo Stadium), Ulinzi Stars v Sofapaka (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).