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Tusker crack KCB’s safe to return to the top

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NAIROBI, Kenya, September 17- Champions Tusker FC shot back to the top of the league standings on Monday evening courtesy of a 2-0 raid on KCB’s vault at City Stadium.

The Brewers sparked to life in the second half after winger Patrick Kagogo was sent off for a professional foul as Obadiah Ndege and Jockins Atudo netted to end their barren spell in front of goal that had lasted for over 340 minutes of football.

“We prepared well and all my players were ready for this tie. I kept the best strikers and introduced them in the second half to kill the game.

“The league is like a marathon, you don’t give up till the end but this win is good for us, we will now take each game as they come,” Tusker coach, Robert Matano, who won his first match in charge of the titleholders stated post match.

The victory took the champions to the summit on 45 points on goal difference ahead of AFC Leopards who are scheduled to play bitter rivals, Gor Mahia on Sunday in another crunch fixture that could portend the destination of the crown.

The Bankers who had beaten Leopards 2-0 in their previous encounter in their battle against relegation went into the match keen on another giant slaying act as they set off to a bright start.

Edwin Mwaura, Mungai Kiongera and Clifford Aluanga probed Tusker’s backline at every opportunity on the counter attack as the champions bossed early possession.

Mwaura heated the palms of custodian Boniface Oluoch in the third minute and it was not until the tenth when Kagogo shot straight at Caleb Adola in the KCB goal to register their first effort on target.

Tusker continued to threaten the Bankers with attacks from the flanks as the game picked up but could not capitalise with Nigerian striker Joseph Emeka failing to profit from a spill from the shaky Adola in the 25th as they went in deadlocked at 0-0 at the breather.

Few minutes after the restart, the red mist descended on Kagogo who went in for a crude foul on Bethwell Mwarambo leaving referee Amos Inchingwa no option but to send him to an early shower.

The sending off ticked Matano into making a triple substitution after Ezekiel Odera almost gave KCB the lead immediately after his side went down to ten men.

Off came Dennis Mukaisi, Joshua Oyoo and the ineffectual Emeka who were replaced by Kenneth Wendo, Ndege and Fred Ojwang.

It took only four minutes for the changes to alter the arithmetic of the match when Ndege slotted in the opener in the 57th after being put on goal by fellow sub Ojwang.

The first goal in three matches for the champions was the tonic they needed to swat the Bankers who attempted to stem the onslaught by introducing pacey forward Jacob Keli in place of Mwaura.

But the momentum was with Tusker who extended their lead on 63 minutes aided largely by a clanger in goal from Adola who flapped a harmless ball to the path of Atudo who gobbled up the chance.

From that point, the stoic Brewers, content in raiding KCB’s safe and escaping with two goals, held on effortlessly for the win that piles further pressure on deposed leaders Leopards and challengers Gor ahead of their crucial derby at Kasarani.

“We were depending on counter attacks but it was difficult to come back after the keeper’s blunder.

“Despite Tusker been ten men, their double marking was hard to deal with but still our two midfielders’ did not click well,” assistant coach Cliff Ambesta rued after the match.

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