Ulinzi break Posta Rangers’ unbeaten run, Thika United hold Gor Mahia

By alex wafula
May 21, 2017
  • Ulinzi Stars striker Stephen Waruru (Centre) celebrates his goal against Posta Rangers. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • George Odhiambo of Gor Mahia fights for possession with Thika United's Wilson Anakeya. The teams drew 1-1. 9Photo by Shutterspeed)

Stephen Waruru’s goal eight minutes into the second half was all Ulinzi Stars needed to poke Posta Rangers' unbeaten run as the soldiers ran off 1-0 winners at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium.

The win takes Benjamin Nyangweso’s side to second on the log with 24 points, two shy of leaders Gor Mahia who were held to a 1-1 draw by Thika United.

A disciplined Ulinzi side never gave Posta Rangers a chance to continue with their unbeaten run as they picked their fourth win on the trot.

Sammy Omollo, the Posta rangers coach was disappointed with the result, partly blaming the absence of defense kingpin Jockins Atudo.

The former Tusker FC stalwart missed the game after picking up a hamstring injury on the last day of training.

“At some point, I knew the run would be broken. It was a very tough match and I think we were punished for failing to use our chances in the first half," Omollo told Sports News Arena after the match.

Ulinzi’s Benjamin Nyangweso praised his boys’ fighting spirit especially in the final minutes when Posta Rangers exerted pressure dumping balls in their half.

“Breaking their unbeaten run was not my main concern. I just wanted us to get three points. We have not worked so hard like today,” Nyangweso stated.

The visitors started brightly, commanding possession with Ulinzi keeping to the back foot.

Early chance

Jared Obwoge had an early chance to take Posta Rangers into the lead in the 14th minute after he beat Oliver Rutto to the ball, but his shot was inches wide.

Three minutes on the turn, Ulinzi came closest but defender Donald Owiti who had been thrown into the deep end with his first start of the season in place of the Atudo cleared off the line.

Oliver Rutto picked the ball on the left after Patrick Matasi had missed the ball in an attempt to collect, floated into the box and Samuel Onyango headed goal-ward before Owiti cleared.

The game was balanced with the biggest of battles fought in the midfield. Posta Rangers who have not had a good scoring rate could not find a way past the Ulinzi backline despite their huge chunk of possession.

Their tact of attacking with aerial balls was futile with the pair of Geoffrey Kokoyo and Mohammed Hassan doing well to win all the high balls.

Three minutes to the break, Michael Otieno should have taken Ulinzi ahead, but wasted a glorious opportunity. Matasi made another mistake of going for an aerial ball he couldn’t reach and Otieno picked the ball on the other end.

However, he blasted over with his team mates screaming for it atop the six yard box.

Superb reflex save

Posta also had a chance towards the break with Ulinzi shot stopper Jacktone Odhiambo making a superb reflex save to punch over a deflected shot from Obwoge.

In the second half, the soldiers came with venom and after six minutes, Waruru nodded them ahead. Geoffrey Kokoyo’s shot from a Daniel Waweru cross hit the crossbar and Waruru managed to sneak in to head the loose ball.

He should have had a second minutes later, but was flagged offside just as he prepared to pull the trigger when he rushed onto a spilled ball from Matasi.

The soldiers continued to pump in the pressure to get the second with substitute Oscar Wamalwa heading inches wide from a Waweru cross.

Four minutes to the final whistle, Waweru who has been outstanding so far this season saw his cracker from distance come against the bar and Evans Amwoka failed to guide the rebound home.

Posta piled pressure in the final minutes hooping all balls upfield, but Ulinzi kept their defensive discipline. They almost cracked when Jerry Santo sneaked in to head a long throw from Luke Ochieng which came against the crossbar.

In Nairobi, Godfrey Walusimbi stepped off the bench to score the equalizer as Gor scrambled to a point that put back their run of three consecutive wins.

The Ugandan international curled in a wonderful freekick past Eliud Emase in the Thika goal for the equalizer. Mwinyi Kibwana had given Thika the lead in the 28th minute.

Before Walusimbi’s goal, Gor should have been level but Timothy Otieno saw his penalty saved after Jacques Tuyisenge was hacked inside the box.

KPL Weekend Results

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 1 Thika United 1 (Nyayo Stadium), Nakumatt 2 Chemelil Sugar 1 (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), SoNy Sugar 2 Western Stima 0 (Awendo Stadium), Ulinzi Stars 1 Posta Rangers 0 (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).