TUSKER, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards won on Saturday leaving the Tusker Kenyan Premier League title race balanced on a knife-edge in the final three rounds of the season.
The top three maintained their positions, No. 3 Leopards remaining three points behind leaders Tusker but still with a realistic a chance as No. 2 Gor Mahia and Tusker, to lift the title.
Gor Mahia and Tusker face off next Sunday at the City Stadium in an encounter at which Leopards will be hoping for a Gor Mahia victory. “Ingwe” will then be hoping that Gor Mahia are at least held to one draw in the final two matches.
Tusker wobbled before edging Muhoroni Youth 1-0 at the International Sports Centre, Kasarani while Gor Mahia needed a 77th minute penalty to subdue Karuturi Sports at the City Stadium.
At Mumias Sugar Company’s ground, Leopards beat Ulinzi Stars 2-1, effectively ending Ulinzi’s slim hopes of clinching the title.
Mathare United beat Oserian 1-0 at the City Stadium maintaining United’s hopes of finishing in the top eight bracket but it was a serious blow for Oserian who are stuck in the relegation zone.
The 15th placed Oserian can still escape banishment from the Premiership but they will need at least two victories from their remaining three fixtures. The immediate one will be a tough ask; against the title-chasing Leopards, so the Naivasha side’s real opportunity will be to win the subsequent encounters with Sony Sugar, at Awendo and Rangers in Naivasha.
Another team fighting off the relegation threat is Nairobi City Stars who, however, did themselves a big favour by winning 1-0 over KCB at Hope Centre.
At Awendo, the home team Sony were shocked by a 1-0 defeat by fellow Nyanza sugar producers Chemelil.
With Mathare United, Chemelil will be involved a fight to grab the last place among the “Top 8” finishers who compete in a start-of-the-season knock-out tournament in 2013.
Mathare United 1 Oserian 0
Defender Athman Buki raced down the flank and into the box, shooting hard at Oserian goalie George Ochieng’ for the only goal of the match in the 22nd minute.
Mathare United had already made most of the attacking, the final efforts featuring striker Francis Ouma and Andrew Tololwa, but Oserian were putting up a fight.
At the back, United were confident, skipper Anthony “Modo” Kimani organising his defence to keep Oserian at bay as United dominated possession by 58% to 42% in the first half.
But Oserian, committed to a fight for their lives pressed hard in the second half. The introduction of veteran John Kiio and Aziz Mohammed gave Oserian some midfield footing to set up a close contest.
The Mathare defence, however, stood resolute and there was not be any sting in the tail.
MATHARE UNITED - 16. Martin Musalia: 13. Athman Buki, 18. John Odhiambo, 17. Lloyd Wahome, 15. Anthony Kimani (captain), 4. Dennis Nzomo, 12. Tirus Omondi, 30. Joseph Mwangi (10. Daniel Mwaura, 78’), 24. Francis Ouma (27. Gabriel Nduru, 90+’), 6. Simon Mburu (7. Vincent Okelo, 46’), 29. Andrew Tololwa
Reserves not used - 22. Robert Mboya, Gk; 3. Kennedy Omogi, 21. Kevin Omondi
Scorer - 13. Athman Buki (22’)
Coach - Stanley Okumbi [Kenya]
OSERIAN - 25. George Ochieng’: 24. Franklyn Osama (captain), 15. Wellington Murwayi, 23. Edwin Misiko, 20. Samuel Ouma, 6. Ben Baraza, 12. Jackson Obayi (14. Aziz Mohammed, 61’), 13. James Macharia, 19. Griffiths Amatala (26. John Kiio, 37’), 7. Edmond Murai, 8. Joseph Kariuki (10. Mathius Okoro, 69’)
Reserves not used - 27. John Wawu, Gk; 22. George Amayo, 5. Daniel Amuom, 18. Fred Omondi
Coach - Sammy Omollo [Kenya]
* * * *
Referee - Nasur Doka
Assistant ref - Mike Mwangi
Asst ref - Elias Kuloba
Reserve ref - Haji Adede
Match commissioner - Bramuel Ngome
Gor Mahia 1 Karuturi Sports 0
The City Stadium was filled to the brim at the start of this second match of the day’s double-header. Earlier, Mathare United had taken on Oserian, a contest won by United 1-0.
In their title bid, Gor Mahia have a straight forward option; to just win all their remaining matches. But on the day, every minute that went without a goal in this encounter against Karuturi Sports, anxiety seemed to grow on and off the pitch.
Oserian ably cut off Gor Mahia’s early pace, dealing effectively with dangers from Ramadhan Salim in the second minute, Dan Sserunkuma in the 13th and Moses Odhiambo in the 15th.
But going into the half-time break, the game was so close that it was Gor Mahia who felt the pressure to raise their performance.
After the change of ends Gor veteran Moses Odhiambo showed personal initiative, taking the game by the scruff of its neck to deliver good ball to Sserunkuma and Salim.
But the breakthrough would only come through forced pressure. Kevin Omondi dangerously broke into the box and was cut down, the referee signaling for the penalty which Sserunkuma stepped up to convert in the 77th minute.
GOR MAHIA - 1. Frederick Onyango: 19. Solomon Nasio, 5. Musa Mohamed (9. Edwin Lavatsa, 62’), 15. David Owino, 4. Donald Mosoti, 6. Anthony “Teddy” Akumu, 10. Victor Ali Abondo, 20. Joseph “Pablo” Njuguna (14. Kevin Omondi, 30’), 8. Dan Sserunkuma, 21. Ramadhan Salim, 25. Moses Odhiambo
Reserves not used - 16. Ivo Mapunda, Gk; 7. Juma Yusuf, 11. Oscar Mbugua, 12. George Midenyo, 17. Nicholas Auma
Scorer - 8. Dan Sserunkuma (77’, pen)
Coach - Zdravko Logarusic [Croatia]
KARUTURI SPORTS - Michael Wanyika, 18. Samuel Otieno, 21. Simon Pierre, 16. Titus Wamalwa, 3. Andrew Mbwabi, 31. Mustafa Ogutu, 4. Victor Majid, 7. Kennedy Oduor, 17. Geoffrey Msiebe (9. Alfred Chole, 46’), 10. Allan Otindo, captain (11. Mohamed Mwachiponi, 67’), 14. Zzinda Hussein
Reserves not used - 24. Maxwell Malaba, Gk; 12. Joshua Okeyo, 30. Yusuf Siruma, 27. Kevin Omondi
Coach - Michael Nam [Kenya]
* * * *
Referee - Amos Ichingwa
Assistant ref - Peter Kiereini
Asst ref - Oliver Omondi
Reserve ref - Tabitha Wambui
Match commissioner - Dominic Weda
AFC Leopards 2 Ulinzi Stars 1
Rwandan international Jonas Nahimana struck from a free kick after just two minutes to give AFC Leopards the lead at Mumias.
After Leopards had comfortably held on to the lead until the 80th minute, Stephen Waruru pounced on a loose ball and powerfully shot straight at Patrick Matasi who punched at Stephen Ocholla’s feet and Ocholla did no mistake from close range.
Then Leopards re-took the lead just after two minutes, Victor Ochieng’ scoring from close range after a corner taken by Charles Okwemba.
Tusker 1 Muhoroni Youth 0
Defender David Ochieng’ rose to head in a crucial 82nd minute winner for Tusker in their duel with Muhoroni Youth at Kasarani. Patrick Kagogo had kicked over the corner
It was a great relief for Tusker as dropping two points from a draw would have dealt a severe blow to their title hopes. They remain top of the table with 54 points, two ahead of Gor Mahia and three ahead of AFC Leopards.
The Brewers must maintain their composer for the do-or-die fight next Sunday with fellow title contenders Gor Mahia.
Nairobi City Stars 1 KCB 0
Francis Thairu gave Nairobi City Stars victory with a 59th minute goal after they had resisted immense pressure from KCB in the opening half.
The win could end up being a life line for the 13th placed City Stars to avoid relegation but they must ensure that with grabbing some more points in their remaining fixtures with Karuturi, Rangers and Tusker.
KCB were dominant in the first half, Edwin Mwaura and Peter Wainaina being most prominent in building up of the attacks.
Sony Sugar 0 Chemelil 1
Jared Omwenga scored the only goal of the match (43rd minute) for visiting Chemelil to upset Sony Sugar at their Awendo backyard.
Sony had started strongly with Enoch Agwanda and Ismael Dunga busy up front. Dunga headed just wide from an Agwanda long throw-in and the Francis Ocholla wildly from a good chance.
But Chemelil had a fair share of possession and Tony Opondo and then Omwenga got close.
Remaining matches for the top three teams:-
Tusker - v Gor Mahia (A), v Western Stima (H), v Nairobi City Stars (A)
Gor Mahia - v Tusker (H), v Muhoroni (A), v Thika United (H)
AFC Leopards - v Oserian (A), v Mathare United (H), v Chemelil (A)
RESULTS & FIXTURES:
Mathare United 1-0 Oserian
Gor Mahia 1-0 Karuturi Sports
AFC Leopards 2-1 Ulinzi Stars
Sony Sugar 0-1 Chemelil Sugar
Nairobi City Stars 1-0 KCB
Tusker 1-0 Muhoroni Youth
3.00pm: (5)Thika United v (7)Western Stima [Thika] * TV
3.00pm: (16)Rangers v (6)Sofapaka [City Stadium]
David BOGERE [Thika United] one (1) red card, to miss match No. 213, Thika United v Western Stima
Baldwin NGWA [Rangers] five (5) yellow cards, to miss match No. 216, Rangers v Sofapoka
John BARAZA [Sofapaka]
Dan SSERUNKUMA [Gor Mahia]
Evans AMUOKA [Ulinzi Stars]
Kepha ASWANI [Thika United]
Ramadhan SALIM [Gor Mahia]
Paul MUNGAI KIONGERA [KCB]
Andrew TOLOLWA [Mathare United]
Allan WANGA [AFC Leopards]
Jesse WERE [Mathare United]
Moses ARITA [Thika United]
Alloys MANGI [Western Stima]
Geoffrey SIMIYU [Sony Sugar]
Kenneth WENDO [Tusker]