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Ingwe remain top, Mathare win at last

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NAIROBI, Kenya, March 24- Leaders AFC Leopards sustained their momentum as Mathare United picked up their first Kenyan Premier League (KPL) win in the highlights of Saturday’s action.

Elsewhere, champions Tusker drunken start to their title defence continued when they were held by plucky KCB as promoted Muhoroni Youth enchanted debut in the top flight carried on when they deflowered Karuturi Sports.

In the Western Kenya derby at Mumias Sports Complex, Leopards switched off Western Stima 2-1 courtesy of a Jonas Nahimana brace.

Stima got off the scoring blocks in the 20th minute when Fred Shimoyo left Ingwe keeper Patrick Matasi clutching at thin straws with a curled free-kick.

The table toppers re-grouped and Nahimana got the leveller two minutes to the break when he towered above the Stima back line to plant a header into the net.

After the break, the sides went at each other in search of the advantage which eventually fell to Leopards when danger man Allan Wanga was brought down in the box.

Nahimana kept his nerve to score the penalty and spark off the toll of Isikuti drums from the Ingwe support.

That proved to be the difference as they moved to 17 points, three clear of Sofapaka who face a daunting test against 2010 champions Ulinzi Stars on Monday.

At Nyayo National Stadium, a moment of quality in the 68th minute in an otherwise turgid match settled matters between bottom-placed Mathare United and floundering Nairobi City Stars.

Athman Buki sprinted down the right flank and his low cross took the City Stars defence out of the equation to leave Francis Ouma, who had ghosted in at the far post, the easy task of bundling the ball in for the winner in a match that ended 1-0.

Mathare keeper, Joseph Ruto, made a number of crucial interventions as City Stars searched for the equaliser in a game that produced little goal mouth action preceding the goal.

“I hope that this win will be the start for our season. We have been playing good football without the luck of a win and I give credit to my team for working hard to win today,” Mathare coach Gabriel Njoroge said post-game.

“I cannot explain how my players fail to win matches after creating so many chances. I hope and pray to God that if we continue playing like this, we shall win,” his opposite number Gideon Ochieng remarked as his side replaced the Slum Boys at the basement.

“I’m so relieved and I feel that my form is slowly coming back and this win will give us the push we needed to get our season off the ground,” Ouma who top-scored for Mathare when they won the title in 2008 with 15 said after notching the third this term.

Earlier at the same venue, champs Tusker remained stuck in third five points behind the pacesetters after escaping with a barren draw against KCB who inched up to fifth on ten points.

Tusker Nigerian striker Joseph Emeka had the first clear cut opportunity on 27 minutes but he blazed his shot well wide when perfectly placed inside the box.

The Bankers saw Geoffrey Maina come close to upsetting the titleholders nine minutes later when he timed his run to meet a Benjamin Chaka cross but his effort went round the near post.

His captain Elvis Ayany did likewise when invited to shoot from just outside the D two minutes to the breather.

Bethwell Warambo was next to spurn a scoring chance for KCB on 50 minutes when he failed to get the end to a Chaka free kick with Tusker’s defence out of sight.

Defender Brian Mandela had a header cleared off the line following a Peter Opiyo corner on 64 and on 73; Patrick Kagogo struck a low shot just past the upright as Tusker mounted the charge.

As KCB retreated, keeper Caleb Adola salvaged a well deserved point for the Bankers a minute from time when he punched out a vicious Caleb Adola shot.

Life in the top flight for new boys Muhoroni Youth remains rosy after they stopped visiting Karuturi Sport 2-1 on their turf to move them above their opponents in sixth at the table.

James Okullo put the home side ahead when he punished Karuturi’s Ben Oketch intended back pass in the 58th and they went further ahead two minutes later when Geoffrey Simiyu rounded keeper Noah Ayuko.

Yusuf Siruma pulled one back in a frantic seven minutes of football to set up a nervy finish but Muhoroni held on to maintain their impressive introduction to the KPL.

On Sunday, Gor Mahia in 13th place travel to Nakuru to face Sony Sugar in a match that will re-unite K’Ogalo with their former coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno with Oserian taking on Chemelil in Naivasha.

Rangers welcome Thika United at Nairobi’s City Stadium to complete the day’s fixtures ahead of the Sofapaka clash against Ulinzi.

SATURDAY KPL RESULTS

Mathare United 1 – 0 City Stars Nyayo
AFC Leopards 2 – 1 Western Stima Mumias
Muhoroni Youth 2 – 1 Karuturi Sports Muhoroni
Tusker 0 – 0 KCB Nyayo

FIXTURES

Sunday (all 1500 +3GMT)

Rangers vs Thika United City
SonySugar vs Gor Mahia Afraha
Oserian vs Chemelil Sugar Oserian

Monday (1900 +3GMT)

Sofapaka vs Ulinzi Stars Nyayo

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