AFC Leopards romped to the top of the Kenyan Premier League table after a 1-0 victory over Nairobi City Stars in a tempestuous match at the National Stadium on Friday night.
Mike Baraza converted a 21st minute penalty, awarded amid protests by City Stars, setting the stage for the rest of the period when a grudge was hanging in the air.
A furious City Stars coach Gideon Ochieng’ later said it was a suspect penalty. He alleged there should not have been a hand ball call because a player had in fact taken the hit on the thigh. His sustained protestation during the match had prompted his being ejected from the bench in the 69th minute.
But before the penalty it had been one-way traffic with Leopards doing the pressing. Jimmy Bageya had slithered through on the dribble in just the third minute, his his shot being saved by City Stars’ goalie Ronny Kagunzi.
Allan Wanga had also threatened and by the 18th minute, City Stars were under pressure resulting in George Mwangi being shown the first yellow card for fouling in a desperate attempt to contain Leopards.
AFC LEOPARDS - 19. Barnabas Tiema: 5. Edwin Wafula, 46. Idrissa Rajab, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 40. Eric Masika, 4. Martin Imbalambala (captain), 44. Paul Were (8. Laurent Tumba, 81’), 22. Bernard Mang’oli, 9. Allan Wanga, 50. Jimmy Bageya, 11. Mike Baraza (34. Victor Ochieng’, 82’)
Reserves not used - 1. Patrick Matasi, Gk; 3. Abbassi Kiwalabye, 14. Amon Muchiri, , 12. Augustine Etemesi, 6. Pascal Ochieng’
Scorer - 11. Mike Baraza (21', penalty)
Coach - Jan Koops [The Netherlands]
NAIROBI CITY STARS - 1. Ronny Kagunzi: 29. Mark Ongwae, 5. John Amboko (captain), 3. Nicholas Ochieng’, 18. Arthur Museve, 17. Boniface Onyango, 8. Dennis Okumu, 20. David King’atua, 14. Duncan Owiti (2. Alex Nyamweno Achoki, 90’), 4. Ibrahim Kitawi, 27. George Mwangi
Reserves - 23. Frederick Majani, Gk; 24. Simon Juma Ogutu, 25. Peter Ashango, 16. Joel Sebuliba, 9. Justus Basweti, 7. Francis Thairu
Coach - Gideon Ochieng’
* * * *
Referee - James Kagera
Assistant ref - Peter Kiereini
Asst ref - Oliver Ouma
Reserve ref - Richard Obare
Match commissioner - Aloyce Odhiambo
RESULT & FIXTURES:
AFC Leopards 1-0 Nairobi City Stars
3.00pm: Ulinzi Stars v Western Stima [Afraha, Nakuru] * TV
3.00pm: Thika United v Oserian [Thika]
3.00pm: Karuturi Sport v Sony Sugar [Oserian]
3.00pm: KCB v Muhoroni [City Stadium]
3.00pm: Chemelil v Gor Mahia [Afraha, Nakuru] * TV