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Ingwe in controversial win over City

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NAIROBI, Kenya, July 13- AFC Leopard returned to the summit of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) on Friday night courtesy of a controversial 1-0 win over plucky City Stars at Nyayo National Stadium.

Leopards are now on top of the log on 37 points after profiting from a Mike Baraza converted spot-kick awarded on 21 minutes although television replays appeared to show Arthur Museve who was adjudged to have handled in the area was not culpable.

The match began with pace with Leopards keen on settling scores against the outfit that stunned them 3-0 in the first leg.

“It was a difficult game as I had pointed out earlier but I’m happy for my team and the fans, this results means we are now on top and will seek to maintain that spot,” a relieved Ingwe coach, Jan Koops offered after the match.

Jimmy Bageya and Allan Wanga showed intent to penetrate the solid City defence with but they lacked the finishes to match approach play in the early exchanges where Ingwe were buoyed by their vocal supporters.

However, the turning point of the game came when the referee pointed to the spot sparking protests from City players that led to the booking of Museve and Dennis Okumu after the former was cited for hand ball in the box.

Replays suggested he had been struck on the knee but after the hold up; Baraza stepped up and coolly slotted the ball into the left corner with the Ronnie Kagunzi rooted to his spot.

The sucker punch deflated City as they resorted to disjointed play with their bench led by head coach Gideon Ochieng contesting any decision that went against them.

Paul Were effort on goal in the 32nd when he ghosted through the defence flew wide after Kagunzi raced to narrow the angle as the title challengers went in for the breather a goal to the good.

City regained composure during the second period as they pressed for the leveller, mustering a shot on goal in the 65th through Duncan Owiti but Bernard Tiema in the Leopards goal was equal to the task.

Martin Imbalambala deployed another way wide shot three minutes later before Ochieng was sent off to the stands for aggravated protest by the referee.

Former Gor Mahia midfielder Ibrahim Kitawi had opportunity for an equaliser with a close range strike that was smothered by Tiema where better execution would have cancelled the deficit.

Leopards themselves squandered the chance to put the result beyond doubt in added time when their top marksman Wanga saw his finish from a Jonas Nahimana cross parried away by Kagunzi in time added on.

“I regret the behaviour of some coaches, some games you win, some you lose,” Koops remarked in reference to the sending off of his opposite number Ochieng who in turn alleged a plot to deny his team the points.

“This was supposed to have been our game, but it’s like the referee came with a fixed mind that AFC had to win

“It’s unfair when you prepare a team for a whole week then you get this kind of treatment,” Ochieng raged after the tie.

Leopards are a point ahead of KPL champions Tusker FC who travel for the Cecafa Club Championships regional tourney and the win puts pressure on the Brewers who are out of domestic action for at least a fortnight.

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