Tusker cruise as City Stars stare at relegation

By nesta kizito
Oct 25, 2014
  • Jesse Were (r) scored one of the goals against Ushuru FC (formerly KRA) as Tusker won 2-0 (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Francis Baraza steered Muhoroni Youth to a 2-1 win over City Stars who are now staring at relegation in their face. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Tusker put behind them the controversy surrounding their unsolved match against Muhoroni Youth with a deserved 2-0 win over Ushuru FC in a Kenyan Premier League encounter on Friday night at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani.

After a balanced first half, the brewers shifted gears a notch higher to post a result that on paper will keep their slim league title hopes alive.

Jesse Were struck with a deft chip over Ushuru goalkeeper Philip Odhiambo shortly after the break and Uganda international midfielder Khalid Aucho put matters to rest with a well taken shot ten minutes to the end of the match.

As a result, Tusker will remain in third spot on the league table with 48 points from 27 matches behind leaders Gor Mahia (54) and Sofapaka (50).

In the day’s late kick off at the same venue, City Stars’ relegation worries deepened when they fell to a 2-1 loss to Muhoroni Youth. Muhoroni took the lead on the stroke of halftime through Abbas Akinyemi’s penalty after Mark Ongwae fell Ronald Otieno in the box.

Converted penalty

City Stars thought they had done enough to salvage something from the match when captain Dennis Okoth won and converted a penalty in the 76th minute after he was hacked down in the box by his opposite number Paul Mboya.

But they immediately went to sleep and were ruthlessly punished four minutes late when Daniel Waweru picked out Ezekiel Otuoma with a clever loop which the striker controlled well before turning Calvin Masawa inside out and beating Fredrick Majani with a low shot that the goalkeeper should have done better to save.

“The players did their best and deserved a positive result from this match. But like I have said before, there have been ‘forces’ working against us this season. But that is football,” City Stars Nigerian coach Robinson Ofwuoku said after the match.

Muhoroni moved two places up to seventh on the log with 37 points, while City Stars, on 20 points, will be relegated if KCB beats Bandari on Sunday in Mombasa. On the same day, leaders Gor Mahia and Sofapaka will lock horns in a top of the table clash in Machakos that has been billed as a potential title decider.

Although both teams will be desperate to win the match, it is Sofapaka who find themselves in a must-win situation.

Explosive encounter

Whereas defeat for Sofapaka will effectively lock them out of the title race, Gor Mahia, in contrast, can still afford the luxury of losing the match but still go on to retain the title.

However, defeat is the last things that either of these two teams will be entertaining in their thoughts ahead of what should be an explosive encounter.

Gor Mahia captain and goalkeeper Jerim Onyango acknowledges the magnitude of the task at hand but believes they have nothing to fear when they face Sofapaka.

"They're a very good team and have showed it throughout the season. They are in a good run of form and have quality all over the pitch too and they will give us a good game. But I am confident we can beat them on Sunday," Onyango told the club's official website.

Onyango’s sentiments were echoed by Uganda international and the league leading scorer Dan Sserunkuma, a man who has been instrumental in Gor Mahia’s campaign this term.

“On Sunday we are going there to write history. If we beat them it will be another special win and a big boost to our championship ambitions,” Sserunkuma was quoted by gormahiafc.co.ke.

KPL Fixtures

Saturday: Western Stima v Nakuru All Stars (Kisumu, 3 p.m.), Thika United v Ulinzi Stars (Thika, 3 p.m.).

Sunday: Mathare United v Sony Sugar (Machakos, 2 p.m.), Sofapaka v Gor Mahia (Machakos, 4:15 p.m.), Bandari v KCB (Mombasa, 3 p.m.), Chemelil Sugar v AFC Leopards (Kisumu, 3 p.m.)