NAIROBI, April 5 – AFC Leopards head coach Zdravko Logarusic was missing in the dugout as his charges were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Thika United in a Kenyan Premier League match played at a soaked Mumias Sports Complex on Easter Sunday.
Elsewhere, Nakuru All Stars stunned Sony Sugar 1-0 to register their first win through Boniface Akenga who missed a 57th minute spot kick at Afraha Stadium.
In Kisumu, Western Stima were 3-1 victors over GOtv Shield champions Sofapaka in another upset of the Easter round.
Muhoroni Youth settled for 1-1 draw with Ushuru as Nairobi City Stars suffered their fifth successive loss, this time 2-0 to Mathare United.
In Mumias, assistant coach Yusuf Chippo was in charge of Leopards as Logarusic made good of his threat not to travel with the team until his two month salary arrears is settled by the management.
“I appreciate the point considering the things that have been going on in the team throughout the week, I’m thankful for the boys who gave their all but we will focus more in the next game.
“We need to work more in our forwards; we created a lot of chances but failed to convert. I do believe we will put our house in order so that we can get things right in the field,” Chippo stated after the match.
Thika head coach Tim Bryett, was content with the result but said will work more on attacking.
“I’m pleased we made chances and dominated, we did well in the midfield but we need to be more clinical in forward line.
“We are still in building process it’s going to take time for us to get our philosophy but we will build on each game. Despite what is going on in Leopards, they are still a good team.”
Austin Ikenna struck first for Ingwe in the 27th minute with a powerful flying header from Timona Wanyonyi’s cross before Jackson Macharia equalised eight minutes later when he flicked home Michael Luvutsi’s free-kick.
Despite welcoming back Martin Imbalambala and winger Noah Wafula from suspension, Chippo made several changes from the squad that went down 1-0 to Ulinzi Stars with reserve keeper Joel Bataro starting in goal for regular Wycliffe Kasaya who was relegated to the bench alongside Burundian Emmanuel Ngama, Ezekiel Seda and Jackson Saleh.
Bataro was the busiest keeper in the opening half that saw him deny Thika’s Raymond Omondi twice as Leopards close chance come through Ugandan Martin Kiiza who missed the target by inches.
Both sides created several chances in the second-half but none could change the score line as Ikenna, Wanyonyi and Ngama squandered for Leopards whilst on the other end Kevin Oliech and Eugene Mukangula wasted for Thika.
Bytte charges had a glorious chance on the first minute of extra time to snatch the winner, but Oliech shot directly at Bataro in what was the last action of the clash with both sides settling for a point.
The result saw Leopards move to fifth on eight points while Thika climbed to sixth on six.