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Keli spares Ingwe’s blushes

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AFC-FANSLast season’s Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Player of the Year and top scorer, Jacob Keli, saved his new club AFC Leopard’s blushes after scoring the equaliser in their tetchy 1-1 draw against his old club KCB.

Ingwe who put together a disjointed display for most of the match missed a late penalty that would have sealed victory in a match the result was fair outcome.

Keli’s timely intervention in the 57th minute saved Leopards, who are still on a high of completing a 4-1 aggregate win over Ethiopia’s Defence in the CAF Confederations Cup preliminary round from coming down with a thud in their KPL opener on Wednesday.

The GOtv Shield champions were trailing from an early Francis Ouma strike that caught them cold after only six minutes from kick-off with the expected title challengers still in Addis Ababa where they stuffed Defence 2-1 to advance to the first round of the Confed Cup against South Africa’s SuperSport United.

Ouma, the first recipient of the Player of the Year accolade in 2008, showed he is close to recovering his mojo when his partnership with the returning Paul Mungai Kiongera and new signing Hedmond Mauda at KCB’s bore immediate reward.

Picking up a Kiongera, who won the title last year on loan to Gor Mahia, pass, Ouma danced through the static Leopards backline to beat Wycliffe Kasaya with a sure finish.

Leopards continued to labour through the opening half in a match of few highlights and after the break, their head coach, James Nandwa, one of the candidates for an early exit, moved to re-jig his starting XI.

Charles Okwemba and Peter Opiyo came on for Musa Mudde and Edwin Seda as he sought to wrest back the control of his midfield that was being dominated by Abdallah Juma’s side.

As fate would have it, Keli undid all the hard work of his former team mates when he drew his new employers’ level inviting Leopards to pour forth in pursuit of a winner to get their campaign off to a winning start.

KCB, who sealed commendable fourth last season, remained resolute in defence but the match turned Leopard’s way when they were awarded a penalty in the 86th.

Former Sofapaka FC skipper, James Situma however, spurned the golden opportunity to secure the three points when his skied his effort over the bar much to the chagrin of the Leopards faithful.

Ingwe will hope to register a first win in their adopted home of Mumias on Sunday when they host the 2010 champions, Ulinzi Stars in another banana skin fixture on Sunday as KCB welcome promoted KRA at Nyayo on Saturday.

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