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Five-star Leopards leave Sony sugarless

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AFC LEOPARDS GROUPNAIROBI, May 1- It was happy Labour Day for AFC Leopards fans when the struggling titans turned out a five-star display by mauling visiting Sony Sugar 5-1 at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.

Following the emphatic victory, the heaviest of the nascent Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season, Ingwe leapt to fourth with Mike Khamati putting the icing on his birthday cake by sinking a double in the rout.

Head coach Zradvko Logarusic charges turned on the style to belie their financial woes and political struggles at the Den to give their fans an occasion to re-live when their beloved club used to unleash terror on the domestic top flight scene in days gone by.

Khamati took only seven minutes to put Leopards ahead when he connected sweetly in a volley from a Noah Wafula cross from the right to leave pragmatic Sony coach, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno with a sour taste in the mouth as his containment approach fell apart so early in the contest.

However, the sugar millers hauled themselves level soon after when their Ugandan forward, Andrew Sekayombya made it 1-1 when he also volleyed in from a right-wing cross when Sony sprung forward in a swift counter.

With Leopards midfield trio of Ugandan Musa Mudde, Khamati and Wafula wresting control from Sony by constantly supplying marksman Jacob Keli upfront, the visitors wilted although the second goal came from an unlikely source in the 24th minute when lanky defender, Joseph Shikokoti headed home from an Abdallah Juma corner.

At 32 minutes, it was 3-1 when Wafula atoned from his glaring miss when he chipped former Thika United keeper Lucas Indeche for the third as Leopards threatened to run riot.

Zico brought on striker Marwa Chamberi after the break in an attempt to rescue the tie that was slipping away from them at half time but the marauding Leopards were soon on the prowl and Khamati completed his brace in the 57th by planting another Wafula delivery past Indeche.

Duncan Otieno and Ezekiel Seda were brought on by Logarusic to great effect when they combined to set Keli through to nail in the fifth.

Sony’s fate was sealed when substitute Amos Asembeka spurned a great opportunity to make the scoreline a bit more respectable with five minutes to regulation time when he fired wide having dribbled his way to the box and in the clear.

Keli was hauled off for the last three minutes plus added time as Leopards finished in ten but by them, the game had turned into a procession to toast their biggest win of the season and also under their Croat coach, Logarusic who took charge this term.

For a moment, all talk of financial woes and other problems bedevilling the grand giants of Kenyan football were set aside as the Isikuti drum beat rent the air around the stadium and adjacent streets at full-time.

KPL action resumes Saturday with the top clash between champions Gor Mahia and 2012 winners, Ulinzi Stars with the titleholders bringing an unbeaten record to what should be a tasty encounter of the bigwigs at Nairobi’s City Stadium.

Last year’s runner-ups, Sofapaka who salvaged a last-minute 1-1 draw against struggling KCB lock horns with City Stars, title chasing Tusker FC are away to Nakuru All Stars as Western Stima host sea-side Bandari in the lakeside city of Kisumu to wrap Saturday’s menu.

Mathare United vs Muhoroni Youth at Nyayo, Chemelil Sugar vs Ushuru in Kisumu and KCB vs Thika at Nyayo round off the weekend fixture list on Sunday.

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