Tusker beat Leopards in Top 8 final

By nesta kizito
Jun 15, 2021
  • Tusker FC players in a past league match. Tusker won the KPL top 8 trophy on Sunday.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

Tusker won their second consecutive Kenyan Premier league Top 8 title with a deserved 2-1 victory over AFC Leopards at Kinoru Stadium in Meru on Sunday.

Lloyd Wahome and lethal finisher Clifford Alwanga struck either side of the break for Tusker while defender-turned-midfielder Joseph Shikokoti scored Leopards’ lone goal.

Leopards have meted out ruthless punishment to their opponents in the last few matches but in the absence of Dutch coach Pieter De Jongh that killer instant was clearly lacking as Tusker ran them rugged.

Juma Abdallah, who was standing in for De Jongh in the dugout, conceded that his men were without the panache that saw the team sweeping aside nearly all comers in recent days.

“Lack of concentration and defensive lapses cost as the match and the cup. But this loss won’t affect our momentum, we have many more matches to come and we are still in the right frame of mind,” Abdallah said.

Tusker, who won the tournament for the first time last season, got off the blocks quickly with Kevin Kimani firing a shot wide from a quick counter attack with just three minutes played.

But Leopards’ response was immediate as Jacob Keli went close on the other end of the pitch. Then Charles Okwemba failed to get to the end of Paul Were’s inviting cross moments before Wahome opened the scoresheets in the 11th minute with a thumping header on Kimani’s corner.

However, Leopards restored parity in the 35th minute through Shikokoti’s header. The towering former Tusker defender barely lifted his feet to nod home Were’s corner capitalizing on the brewers’ defenders’ reluctance to adequately cover Samuel Odhiambo’s goal line.

Shifted gears

Tusker thought that they had doubled the lead on the stroke of half time but Wahome’s effort from a goalmouth melee was ruled out for a foul on Leopards’ goalkeeper Wycliffe Kasaya.

In the second half, Tusker shifted gears constantly keeping Ingwe on the back foot. Brian Osumba’s header flashed across the face of goal in the 50th minute.  A minute later substitute Jesse Were almost bulldozed his way through the entire Leopards’ defence but Jackson Saleh stepped in on time to mop up the danger.

Leopards finally cracked under Tusker’s relentless pressure in the in the 76th minute when Clifford Alwanga pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the box, eluded a challenge and beat Kasaya on his near post with a vicious right foot strike for the match winner.

In Kenyan Premier League, Chemelil Sugar moved second on the log with a 2-0 victory over bottom side KCB at Chemelil Sugar. Meshack Karani’s brace accounted for the win that took the sugar millers’ points tally to 28 points in 15 matches.

Chemelil trail leaders Gor Mahia, who drew 0-0 with KRA on Saturday, by two points. At City Stadium, goals from Eric Johanna and Daniel Waweru earned Mathare United a rear victory in the league as the Slum Boys overcame Thika United 2-1.

Thika’s only goal was scored by David King’atua in the 65th minute to cancel out Johanna’s match opener at the quarter hour mark.

In other matches, Sofapaka and Ulinzi Stars settled for a 1-1 draw in Machakos, while Sony Sugar beat Muhoroni Youth 2-1 at Awendo Green Stadium.