Mathare move closer to survival, Western Stima revive hopes

By alex wafula
Nov 11, 2017
  • Francis Kimanzi, the Mathare United coach is confident before the last league match after winning 2-1 against Muhoroni Youth. (SNA: File Photo)

  • Tusker FC players quick off the wall against Sofapaka who won 1-0 to move to the second spot in the Kenya Premier League table. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Rogers Aloro of Sofapaka closes in on Tusker’s Brian Osumba on a slippery pitch . (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Mathare United’s Chrispine Oduor dribbles past Muhoroni Youth defense. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Mathare United moved a step closer to survival in the Kenyan Premier League with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Muhoroni Youth in Nairobi.

In Kisumu, Western Stima gave themselves a massive shot in the arm with a nervy 1-0 win over Posta Rangers, but they remain perched at 17th, the second automatic drop zone.

The Slum Boys moved off the bottom four for the first time this season, climbing to 14th, but they might just drop back to that dangerous zone depending on the result between Thika United and Zoo Kericho who play on Wednesday in Kericho.

The game had been initially set for the Moi Stadium in Kisumu but was postponed due to safety concerns around the Brookside sponsored Thika. Zoo are 15th on the standings with 37 points, one behind Mathare while Thika United are 16th with 35 points.

A win for Nicholas Muyoti’s men against Zoo Kericho will see them move to 15th while Zoo Kericho drop one position below.

It is expected that the 16th placed team from the KPL will play the third placed team from the National Super League to determine who joins the two automatically relegated teams.

Western Stima’s hopes will now rest on whether or not Zoo Kericho will beat Thika United. Mathare meanwhile have safety within reach with one game left.

Muhoroni Youth who have already been relegated threatened to spoil their hopes, but Cliff Nyakeya scored the winner in the second half to give his side some relief.

“It was a tough match under difficult circumstances, but the most important thing is the three points. We go into the final match of the season with confidence and we want this same performance. We cannot be safe until it is confirmed we are safe,” Francis Kimanzi, the Mathare United boss said.

Maxwell Onyango had brought Muhoroni Youth back into contention with a goal six minutes into the second half cancelling out Edward Seda’s first half strike.

Lapse in concentration

However, a lapse in concentration at the back saw Nyakeya sneak in to hit the winner.

The soggy Ruaraka pitch made it difficult for both teams to play especially Mathare United who are used to a short passing game while Muhoroni Youth appeared comfortable especially with their long ball approach.

Mathare had the first chance of the match with Chris Ochieng blasting a shot wide from the edge of the box after 12 minutes.

Three minutes later, Muhoroni also had an opportunity after some swift change from defense to attack.

However, Ambrose Ayoyi could not cap it with a goal as his shot inside the box went over.

Ten minutes to the break, Mathare came close when Ochieng twisted and turned on the left to switch to his favorite right foot, but the Muhoroni keeper produced a full stretch save to finger-tip the ball away for a corner.

The hosts finally broke the deadlock two minutes to the break, Seda shooting low into the bottom right after Nyakeya set him up from a Martin Ongori cross from the right.

But the determined Muhoroni, eager to sign off their Premier League experience on a high came back level six minutes after the restart. Onyango picked the ball at the edge of the six yard box before rifling into the net after Mathare struggled to clear a corner floated in by Ayoyi.

A determined Mathare went back into the lead barely five minutes later when Nyakeya slapped home unmarked at the far post. Muhoroni failed to clear the ball on the left, John Mwangi picking up and driving into the box before setting up Nyakeya.

Nyakeya should have capped off the day with a brace 10 minutes later, but he could not beat the keeper one on one after being put through by Chris Oduor.

Lived dangerously

The Slum Boys lived the final minutes of the game dangerously and had their lucky stars to thank when Farouk Mudoka’s cross from the left three minutes to time rolled across the face of an empty goal with no one to tap home.

Meanwhile, Sofapaka rose back to second on the log with a 1-0 win over outgoing champions Tusker FC.

Humphrey Okoti scored the lone goal in the first half. Okoti thumped the ball home against his former employers on the half hour mark after Umaru Kasumba chested down a Rodgers Aloro cross for him.

Batoto ba Mungu who survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last season defended in numbers in the second half and chose to run down the clock by going down from every slight touch.

Their best chance of the half was in the 57th minute when Kassumba hit the side netting from a Meshack Karani cross.

Tusker attacked in numbers but could not find it anything within their feet to hit an equalizer.

KPL weekend results and fixtures (All games kick off at 3 p.m. unless stated)

Saturday: Mathare United 2 Muhoroni Youth 1, Tusker FC 0 Sofapaka 1 (Ruaraka Complex), Bandari 1 Ulinzi Stars 0 (Mbaraki Complex, Mombasa), Kakamega Homeboyz 0 Gor Mahia 1 (Mumias Complex), Western Stima 1 Posta Rangers 0 (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), SoNy Sugar 0 Nakumatt 1 (Awendo Stadium).

Sunday: AFC Leopards v Chemelil Sugar (Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani).