NAIROBI, April 25 – Cash-strapped giants AFC Leopards suffered their second successive defeat after a week of turmoil ended with the hangover of a 1-0 defeat to Tusker FC during a hard fought Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium.
At Awendo Green Stadium, Sony won the sugar millers derby after bouncing back to overcome Chemelil 3-1 and across in Kisumu, Western Stima were outclassed 1-0 winners by Muhoroni Youth who recorded a first victory in four games.
The focus of Saturday KPL action was at Nyayo where Leopards who trained only once this week after players went on strike over pay were bottled in a match decided by Kevin Kimani’s 21st minute free-kick.
“We didn’t deserve to lose at all because we had our chances and they had one from a free kick and they scored. We dominated with the proceedings but we have problem with the fitness; we couldn’t put pressure on them in the last 20 minutes,” Ingwe head coach, Zradvko Logarusic declared.
Tusker boss, Francis Kimanzi applauded his players for sticking to his game plan as his team brewed a second successive win.
“I’m satisfied with the result, what we are looking forward to is building match after match. It’s a slim win but the most important thing is we have maximum points.
“We were more composed though we started slowly but more important we kept our game plan. People may say Leopards were not training but they were training individually so if you engage them in running, you will see a lot of problems,” Kimanzi added.
The win saw the Brewers climb to third on 15 points, two behind champions and leaders Gor Mahia who have two matches in hand, the first against plucky Ushuru FC on Sunday.
Leopards’ players had threatened not to honour the fixture until they were paid three month salary and bonus arrears and reports suggest they were convinced to take to the field after receiving Sh80, 000 from a Good Samaritan on Friday.
Ingwe who entered the tie on the back of another 1-0 defeat to Ushuru made three changes with Joel Bataro in goal, Edwin Wafula in midfield and Joseph Shikokoti at the back for first choice keeper Wycliffe Kasaya, Martin Kiiza and Bernard Mang’oli who were ruled out by injury.
Ingwe gave the Brewers a run for their money in the first-half with both sides battling for supremacy in midfield as Emanuel Ngama, Jacob Keli and Lamine Diallo tormented Tusker’s defence.
After Bataro tipped over Aboud Omar’s shot from the left, Kimani made the difference after Joseph Shikokoti handled the ball at the edge of the box.
Kimani stepped up to punish Bataro’s poor positioning by squeezing the ball inside the right bottom corner.
Logarusic brought on Khaleed Jumaan, Diallo and Ezekiel Seda for Ngama, Karim Ndungwa and Noah Wafula in the second half.
Ndungwa and Wafula piled the pressure but Tusker stood tall while on the other end Osborne Monday and Patrick Oboya blasted wide when presented with chances to double the lead.
Kimanzi introduced Donald Mosoti for Oboya to push the marauding Leopards back as Tusker wound down the clock to collect maximum points.
In Awendo, Andrew Sekayombya, Meshack Okukhulu and Kennedy Oduor scored for Sony with Daniel Mutai scoring the consolation.
Skipper Abass Akinyemi scored from the spot against Western Stima to hand Muhoroni Youth the win in Kisumu.