Relegation battle hots up as Muhoroni and Western Stima pick wins

By alex wafula
Oct 07, 2021
  • Kariobangi Sharks' Sven Yidah dribbles past Whyvonne Isuza of AFC Leopards. The match ended in a barren draw. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Muhoroni Youth and Western Stima revived their hopes of survival in the Kenya Premier League after registering vital wins on Saturday.

Although they retained their bottom two positions on the standings, the two teams revived their hopes of pushing up as the league comes to its business end.

Muhoroni Youth moved to 24 points with a 4-3 win over Nakumatt FC in a seven-goal thriller at the Ruaraka Complex while Western Stima beat struggling Bandari 2-1 at home.

The sugar belt side who recently hired former Nakuru All Stars coach George Maina to save them off relegation were lucky to come off winners after throwing away a two goal lead.

Collins Agade’s 14th minute stunner had given Muhoroni Youth a well deserved lead before Hassan Kikoyo headed them to a 2-0 halftime scoreline in the 40th minute.

In the second half, Nakumatt came back a rejuvenated side and quickly got back into contention with Kennedy Onyango heading home Joshua Oyoo’s corner in the 68th minute.

John Njoroge volleyed Nakumatt back on level terms three minutes later before Muhoroni Youth re-took the lead minutes later with a penalty converted by Kikoyo. Nakumatt responded in similar fashion through skipper Peter Nzuki.

But, Maxwell Onyango saved the visitors the blushes of dropping a healthy lead with a composed finish with eight minutes left off an Ambrose Ayoyi assist.

Return to top flight football

In Kericho, Zoo Kericho announced their return to top flight football after a brief suspension in superb fashion, hitting the high flying Kakamega Homeboyz by a solitary goal.

Danson Chetambe scored the lone goal for the Premier League newcomers as they ensured they remained above the drop zone with two matches at hand.

Kakamega Homeboyz were on a nine-match unbeaten run. Their loss on Saturday now means Gor Mahia who were not in action this weekend need only two wins from the remaining seven games to clinch the title.

At the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, AFC Leopards and Kariobangi Sharks drew 0-0. Both teams played with hands tied at their backs, seemingly saving the best for the GOtv Shield final in a fortnight time.

Robert Matano, the AFC Leopards coach lamented that his side did not play at their best level due to injuries.

Three first team players were out nursing knocks while two more, Robinson Kamura and Dennis Sikhayi are in Thailand with the national team.

He however promised Kariobangi Sharks not to expect the same performance in the Shield final on October 20.

“It has been tough for us because even some players who are playing did so with injuries. Today two more players joined the injury list and so it is worrying. But what I am sure of is that things will be different in the final,” Matano said after the game.

It was a slow paced game, full of misplaced passes and not too many chances infront of goal.

Calvin Odongo should have put some spice in the game in the 25th minute but with only goalkeeper Ian Otieno at his mercy, the forward hit the upright.

Mathew Odongo had done all the hard work on the left breaking into the box to tee up his mate but the effort could not come with a goal at the end.

Speed on the wings

AFC Leopards were mostly using their speed on the wings to create danger with Marcelus Ingotsi and Samuel Ndung’u being tasked with the work of opening up the Sharks defense.

But, the side could not hit it perfect with their deliveries. Their best chance of the first half came through Vincent Oburu whose shot straight through the middle went straight to the keeper.

Odongo had another chance for Kariobangi Sharks seven minutes to halftime, but he could not come to the end of a Duke Abuya cross after the winger smacked the ball across the face of goal.

The story remained the same in the second half with both team’s levels dropping even further. The game appeared to have found some spark of life on the hour mark when Oburu tapped home a cross from Ingotsi but he was ruled offside.

On the other end, Ian Otieno made a decent save to turn the ball behind for a corner from another of Odongo’s efforts, having shot from the edge of the box.

Ingwe had the best chance of the game three minutes to full time when Oburu drove into the box, but his eventual shot on the weaker right foot was saved by Oyemba’s knees.

KPL Saturday results: SoNy Sugar 1 Ulinzi Stars 1 (Awendo), Western Stima 2 Bandari 1 (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Zoo Kericho 1 Kakamega Homeboyz 0 (Kericho Green Stadium), Nakumatt FC 3 Muhoroni Youth 4 (Ruaraka Complex), Kariobangi Sharks 0 AFC Leopards 0 (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos).