AFC Leopards won 3-1 at Oserian on Saturday to stay in the Tusker Kenyan Premier League title hunt while attention swung to Sunday’s other decisive match; Gor Mahia v Tusker at the City Stadium, kick-off 3pm and televised “live on SuperSport 9East.
An Oserian team that showed incredible battle in the opening 10 minutes, and even led Leopards 1-0 inside eight minutes, were in the end left facing relegation doom in the face.
The 15th placed Oserian [21 points] can only escape the “drop” if they win their remaining matches against Sony Sugar and Rangers and at the same time hope that No. 14 Muhoroni Youth [26 points] lose to both Chemelil Sugar and Gor Mahia. Possible; so Sammy Omollo and the Naivasha boys are not giving up hope.
After Saturday matches, bottom team Rangers [20 points] were virtually condemned. Even if they won their final two matches, they could only hope to tie on points with Muhoroni. Then Muhoroni would still be better on goal difference, currently -10 in contrast to Rangers’ poor -29.
Also at Oserian on Saturday, Karuturi Sports and Nairobi City Stars tied 0-0. There was plain “flatness” in a combat of uninspired teams that just ensured their survival in the Premiership.
But at the City Stadium, it was absolute joy for Mathare United after a stout performance and a 1-0 victory over KCB. This put United in a strong position to finish inside the “Top Eight”.
Earlier at the same venue, Sofapaka were held to a 2-2 draw by Sony Sugar.
Oserian 1 AFC Leopards 3
AFC Leopards put in a disciplined, battling performance to wear down a determined Oserian side.
The opening minutes were electrifying. Inside the first minute, Leopards’ Rwanda defender Jonas Nahimana, almost scored with a glancing header from a corner ball went just above the bar.
Then Oserian laid siege on Leopards until they scored in the eighth minute when Ben Baraza fired in from inside the box. After an Oserian corner was headed in, blocked and then the ball finally fell to Baraza, he blasted in past Patrick Matasi.
The goal was actually coming. In the fourth and fifth minutes, Leopards had survived when Matasi parried away goal-bound shots.
The first was when Wellington Murwayi struck a 30-metre free kick to Matasi’s left. The Leopards’ keeper clumsily reached the ball with the tips of his fingers and he barely pushed it round the far post. In the next minute Dennis Wafula bombarded Matasi who desperately managed to block that shot before the ball was scrambled away.
At the juncture when Oserian took the lead, they appeared good enough for victory on the day. It would have been only their 12th win of the season and one signalling hopes of survival in the Premier League. At the time, there was real hope that they could go on to overhaul the 14th placed Muhoroni in the final two matches of the season.
But an unbelievably lively Leopards’ team showing no pressure at all after falling behind, regrouped to take the battle to Oserian.
A number of attacking runs culminated with Paul Were teeing up Mike Baraza at the middle of the top of the box and the veteran unleashed his right foot to fire from 20 metres in the 12th minute. A diving George Ochieng’ in the Oserian goal helplessly saw the ball zoom under his chest as he dived to the right far post.
A bit of the Oserian self belief the appeared to have been sapped from the players after Leopards took the lead in the 15th minute.
From a free kick award 22 metres out on the left flank, Bernard Mang’oli powerfully and accurately slipped the ball past Ochieng’ on the near post.
From a 29th minute Leopards’ corner, Mike Baraza should have had his second goal with a header off a corner. His team’s dead ball delivery was really proving very good.
In the 45th minute Charles Okwemba’s rising shot was dipping into goal when Ochieng’ tipped it over the bar.
Disaster struck Oserian two minutes after the change of ends when their skipper Franklyn Osama, on a yellow card in the first half for a reckless tackle, stupidly repeated the same offence and a second yellow translated in a send-off.
From then on Oserian’s struggle became severe under the Leopards onslaught.
Oserian conceded an 85th minute corner and Leopards played it short before the final ball to ‘keeper Ochieng’ who defended it at the near post on the right. But parrying the ball rather than holding it allowed it to drop on the legs of Charles Okwemba who lifted it high into the top corner of the net for a 3-1 score line denoting an emphatic victory.
It was a thrilling end to an entertaining match under a carnival atmosphere. Hordes of Leopards’ fans from around the country had made their way to Naivasha and what enjoyment did they experience.
Rain had preceded the 2pm kick-off Karuturi Sports v Nairobi City Stars match at the same venue. But good conditions returned after half time. The 4pm match was played under a warm sun and on a nicely watered soft pitch.
Coach Sammy Omollo of Oserian said his team would not give up the fight to survive, adding: “I think we played well. The turning point was Osama’s send-off. It was unnecessary. He should not have gone for the tackle after the Leopards player had already won the ball.
“But this [relegation battle] is not over. We shall fight till the last day. We are proud of what we are doing.”
Jan Koops of AFC Leopards said the focus was to win all their matches and see what happens. “Only WE can do anything about our destiny. I say, we win our matches, and then see what happens.”
OSERIAN - 25. George Ochieng’: 24. Franklyn Osama (captain), 15. Wellington Murwayi, 23. Edwin Misiko, 20. Samuel Ouma, 6. Ben Baraza, 14. Aziz Mohammed (26. John Kiio, 46’), 13. James Macharia, 28. Dennis Wafula, 9. Joseph Okumu (18. Fred Omondi, 52’), 7. Edmond Murai (8. Joseph Kariuki, 66’)
Reserves - 27. John Waw, Gk; 5. Daniel Amuom, 22. George Amayo, 19. Griffins Amatala
Scorer - 6. Ben Baraza (8’)
Coach - Sammy Omollo [Kenya]
AFC LEOPARDS - 1. Patrick Matasi: 5. Edwin Wafula, 3. Abbassi Kiwalabye, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 40. Eric Masika, 4. Martin Imbalambala, captain (18. Floribert Ndayisaba, 80’), 44. Paul Were, 22. Bernard Mang’oli (12. Augustine Etemesi, 91’), 11. Mike Baraza, 34. Victor Ochieng’ (9. Allan Wanga, 65’), 10. Charles Okwemba
Reserves - 19. Barnabas Tiema, Gk; 46. Idrisa Rajab, 50. Jimmy Bagaye, 14. Amon Muchiri
Scorers - 11. Mike Baraza (12’), 22. Bernard Mang’oli (15’), 10. Charles Okwemba (85’)
Coach - Jan Koops [The Netherlands]
* * * *
Referee - Davies Omweno
Assistant ref - Peter Sabatia
Asst ref - David Sagero
Reserve ref - Raphael Nduati
Match commissioner - Zach Wandeyi
Karuturi Sport 0 Nairobi City Stars 0
The best scoring chances came in the dying minutes. The first in the 87th minute fell to Karuturi’s and perhaps the man-of-the-match Kennedy Oduor, whose header was saved by City Stars’ ‘keeper Ronny Kagunzi.
Peter Juma also fired low to the right in the 89th minute and although Kagunzi had it covered it appeared dangerous.
Otherwise, most of the time, the match was an increasingly scrappy affair that witnessed dreadful passing from both teams.
KARUTURI SPORTS - 25. Michael Wanyika: 21. Simon Pierre, 18. Samuel Otieno, 16. Titus Wamalwa (captain), 12. Joshua Okeyo, 31. Mustapha Ogutu (22. Peter Juma, 66’), 4. Victor Majid, 7. Kennedy Oduor, 17. Geoffrey Msiebe, 10. Allan Otindo (9. Alfred Chole, 56’), 14. Zzinda Hussein
Reserves - 1. Noah Ayuko, Gk; 30. Yusuf Siruma, 11. Mohammed Mwachiponi, 13. Abdulrahman Mohammed
Coach - Michael Nam [Kenya]
NAIROBI CITY STARS - 1. Ronny Kagunzi: 5. John Amboko (captain), 25. Peter Ashango, 3. Nicholas Ochieng’, 29. Mark Ong’wae, 17. Boniface Onyango, 11. Ken Tumusiime (27. Samuel Mwangi, 66’), 7. Francis Thairu, 9. Justus Basweti, 13. Victor Okulu (24. Simon Juma Ogutu, 58’), 10. Silas Aluvisia (12. Bruno Sserunkuma, 82’)
Reserves - 30. Peter Odhiambo, Gk; 15. Nicholas Meja, 6. Mark Makwata, 8. Dennis Okumu
Coach - Bye Wadda [The Gambia]
* * * *
Referee - Moses Osano
Assistant ref - Walter Ondiege
Asst ref - Dorcas Moraa
Reserve ref - Hajji Adede
Match commissioner - Evans Omosa
Sofapaka 2 Sony Sugar 2
Joseph Nyaga first completed the move from a cross from John Baraza to send Sofapaka 1-0 up after just five minutes at the City Stadium.
Ismail Dunga replied, levelling for Sony Sugar in the 44th minute. He controlled a Wycliffe Nyagechi cross with his chest, outpaced Edgar Ochieng’ to fire past David Okelo in the Sofapaka goal.
In the 57th minute Humphrey Mieno rose high to head in a cross from George Owino enabling Sofapaka to retake the Sofapaka lead.
Sony were level when Dunga again scored in the 65th minute.
Sofapaka’s point earned will not do any good to their dreams of pushing up to third place on the table.
In fourth place with 45 points victory in the final two matches would only give Sofapaka 51 points that cannot overhaul No. 3 Gor Mahia who are already at 52 points with three matches to play.
SOFAPAKA - David Okelo: James Situma (captain), Abdalla Juma, Eugene Asike, Edgar “Fighter” Ochieng’, Osborne Monday, George Owino, Joseph Nyaga (Thomas Wanyama, 78’), Anthony Kimani (Elly Asieche, 46’), John Baraza, Humphrey Mieno
Reserves not used - Duncan Ochieng’, Gk; Felly Mulumba, John Njoroge, Robert Binja, Bob Mugalia
Scorers - Joseph Nyaga (5’), Humphrey Mieno (57’)
Coach - Stewart J Hall [England]
SONY SUGAR - Wilson Obungu: Wycliffe Nyangechi, Andrew Waiswa, Alfred Onyango, Sylvester Wanyama (captain), Sammy Onyango (Enoch Agwanda, 67’) , Dennis “Wise” Okoth (Victor Ochieng’ 88’), Francis Ochola (John Kiplangat, 67’), Vincent Ogutu, Jimmy Kulaba, Ishmael Dunga
Reserves not used - Collins Oduor, Gk; Joseph Omweri, Tumba Kilonzo, Marwa Chamberi
Scorers - Ismail Dunga (44’, 65’)
* * * *
Coach - Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno [Kenya]
Referee - Edward Lumbugu (Magadi)
Assistant ref - Caroline Kiles (Nakuru)
Asst ref - Stephen Maina (Kangema)
Reserve ref - Amos Wanjala (Kitale)
Match commissioner - Juma Kalume (Malindi)
KCB 0 Mathare United 1
Mathare United skipper Anthony Kimani ensured his side’s 1-0 victory over KCB and kept United’s hopes of playing in next season’s “Top 8” knock-out tournament alive.
The defender rose to head in from a corner five minutes to the end of the fixture at the City Stadium.
This hoisted Mathare to seventh place on 38 points. To finish in the top eight, United must ensure matching for points, the chasing teams -- Western Stima (37), Chemelil (36), Sony Sugar (35) and KCB (33) -- in the remaining two matches.
Mathare United are a team that bounced back from a first half of the season nightmare when they stared relegation in the face, to a confident quality side that could take on anybody in the league.
United forwards Jesse Were and Francis Ouma missed clear chances in the early minutes of the match but the game soon settled with the team enjoying more possession than their opponents.
For KCB, Jacob Kelly twice went just wide with headers off good ball from Edward Mwaura.
TUSKER KENYAN PREMIER LEAGUE:
RESULTS & FIXTURES:
Sofapaka 2-2 Sony Sugar
KCB 0-1 Mathare United
Karuturi Sports 0-0 Nairobi City Stars
Oserian 1-3 AFC Leopards
3.00pm: (8)Western Stima v (16)Rangers [Bukhungu]
3.00pm: (9)Chemelil Sugar v (14)Muhoroni Youth [Chemelil]
3.00pm: (3)Gor Mahia v (1)Tusker [City Stadium] * TV
3.00pm: (5)Ulinzi Stars v (6)Thika United [Afraha, Nakuru]
Rama SALIM [Gor Mahia] five (5) yellow cards, to miss match No. 224, Gor Mahia v Tusker
David OTIENO [Western Stima] five (5) cards, to miss match No. 221, Western Stima v Rangers