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Sofapaka hits Thika to go third as Ulinzi falter

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Ulinzi Stars’ Samuel Onyango attempts to go past Nakumatt’s Christopher Wekesa during a Kenyan Premier League clash at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on August 6, 2017. PHOTO/Courtesy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6- Three goals in the second half saw Sofapaka move to third in the Kenyan Premier League standings with a 3-0 win over Thika United at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Sunday afternoon.

Two goals within five minutes from Umar Kassumba and substitute Hillary Echesa set the 2009 champions on song after a clumsy first half with Rodgers Aloro striking a sumptuous freekick to seal the points 15 minutes to time.

In the earlier kick off, 2010 champions Ulinzi Stars suffered their third successive loss with a 1-0 result against Nakumatt FC. The result more or less punctures the military side’s title hopes.

Substitute Kevin Thairu scored the winner with two minutes left on the clock after racing to a rebound following Jacktone Odhiambo’s save from a Jack Bruno freekick.

In Chemelil, Mike Madoya struck to cancel out John Mwita’s goal as a resilient Zoo Kericho rallied from a goal down to draw 1-1 with hosts Chemelil Sugar.

But the day arguably belonged to Sofapaka who scored three goals for the second consecutive time, having beaten Muhoroni Youth 3-2 in midweek away from home.

After a clumsy first half, the game broke into life in the second period with Kassumba breaking the deadlock just seven minutes after the restart.

Poor defensive awareness from Dennis Lewa saw Kassumba pick the ball up inside the box and fire past fellow Ugandan Allan Owiny. From a Willis Ouma cross on the right, Lewa failed to clear with his attempt at controlling the ball turning awry and gifting the Ugandan with possession.

Five minutes later, Thika conceded almost from similar fashion. Morven Otinya broke off from the left before cutting back a cross which found the Thika backline in slumber. Echesa who had just come on for Kennedy Oduor found the ball and simply slapped it home.

Sofapaka took firm control of the game dictating possession while Thika tried to get themselves back on song.

Their efforts were nipped right in the bud with Aloro striking a superb freekick over the wall and into the net, all but affirming Sofapaka would be keeping all three points.

Late on, Thika tried to cut the deficit with Saad Musa’s well curled freekick failing to land on a target inside the box while Christopher Oruchum’s shot from range was saved by Kigonya despite taking an awkward bounce right before him.

Thika hadn’t created much in the game with their best chance coming in the 19th minute when Onwudi Chibueze sent Mwinyi Kibwana through one on one with Kigonya, but the keeper was faster off his line blocking the effort.

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