NAIROBI, May 23 – A quick-fire double salvo from substitute Victor Ochieng piled more misery on Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants AFC Leopards who were skinned 2-0 by Western Stima on Saturday to round off another week of turmoil at the crisis-hit Den.
In Awendo, hosts Sony remain without victory in five after going down 0-1 to Thika United where Kennedy Otieno notched the only strike as Robert Mbugua and Oscar Wamalwa traded goals as visiting City Stars forced Ulinzi Stars to a 1-1 stalemate.
At the highlight fixture of the day in Kisumu, head coach Henry Omino continued his good run against the titans by leading his charges to an electrifying victory that short-circuited Leopards ambitions to bridge the gap at the top to six.
Heavy rains towards the end of the first half threatened to wash off the evenly balanced game but when the sides emerged from the break, inspired changes by Omino made the difference as Ochieng came off the bench to rifle two powder keg shots to the bottom left via the post and top left from outside the box inside two minutes to condemn Leopards.
Leopards were playing at Moi for the first time this season but despite creating better chances through Musa Mudde, Jacob Keli, Austine Ikenna and Bernard Mang’oli but Stima keeper, Gabriel Andika put in a stellar shift between the sticks to ward off the wildcats.
“We didn’t score our chances and we were punished, small individual mistakes at the back cost us the first goal. I tried with two strikers in the first-half and used the other two on the bench in second-half but we still could not score and that’s our problem.
“Congratulations to Western Stima they deserved to win,” disappointed Leopards head coach, Zdravko Logarusic said whilst firing broadsides to the club’s management for delaying departure to Kisumu over non-payment and KPL for disallowing them to train at Moi ahead of the game.
Omino took his opportunity to twist the knife on the skinless Leopards as he continued dishing out cold revenge on the club that dismissed him without pay a few years back.
“Beating Leopards is like a formality, if I lose to them then something very is wrong, it started way back from 1983 when I was at Kisumu Posta. I’m happy for the win because it was headed to a draw but when Ochieng came in and scored the first goal I knew the second was on the way,” the Stima boss gloated.
The loss ended Ingwe’s three-match winning streak as they remain nine points behind arch rivals, leaders and champions Gor Mahia who play Muhoroni Youth on Sunday at the same venue.
However, Leopards who arrived on the eve of the match after initially threatening to boycott until a well wisher came to their rescue with Sh300,000 have themselves to blame after creating enough chances to win at a canter.
Mudde set the tone in the 18th minute with a long range thunderbolt that forced Adika to stretch and parry away.
Tempers frayed afterwards when Abdallah Juma was tacked from behind by Stima’s Ronald Okoth that saw the Leopards left-back rise to retaliate before being pushed by the former but the aggressor was only given a yellow card for what looked like an offense that demanded harsher punishment.
Leopards should have broken the deadlock on the stroke of half-time but Ikenna missed a simple tap-in from Keli’s cross from the right.
Logarusic brought in Lamin Diallo for Noah Wafula for the second half and two minutes in, Adika made a breathtaking double save to deny joint top scorer Keli first from a close range header before denying him from the rebound.
At the other end, Okoth missed a glorious chance after Estone Esiye intercepted on Juma’s poor back-pass to set him through but the former feebly passed to Adika.
In the 53rd, Adika was at it again, saving Mang’oli’s 25 yards cracker for the hosts to respond through the counter attack started by John Kiplagat but Baron Oketch failed to slot the ball home after missing the cross.
Wasteful Okoth was withdrawn for Wesley Kemboi as Leopards brought in Emmanuel Ngama for Fredrick Ndaaka before play was stopped for two minutes after lines woman Dorcas Wanza was stoned by fans after raising the flag for offside on Ingwe player.
Mwai was able to contain the situation to allow Omino to introduce super sub Ochieng for Esiye.
It only took five minutes for Ochieng to break the deadlock when a Kiplagat cross found him unmarked to control before hammering past Kasaya on the bottom of the left side of the net.
Even before the dust settled, Ochieng completed his brace with a 30 yard cracker when the Leopard’s defence went Awol in a lightning Stima counter-attack and the ball bobbled all the way to the forward who took a touch to kill it before unloading a thunderbolt past Kasaya’s despairing dive.
Leopards could not fashion a response despite having 14 minutes plus added time on the clock as Stima wound down the game.