NAIROBI, Kenya, April 7 – A stoppage time strike from Joseph Okumu earned AFC Leopards a hard fought one all draw against Mathare United on Wednesday.
Okumu who kept Mathare on their toes throughout the evening received a well timed reverse pass from Franklin Osama in acres of space to rifle the ball past Martin Musalia.
“It feels good to equalize in the last minute. If we had more time we could have won the match because we did not use our chances very well,” said Leopards captain Peter Wainaina.
A disappointed Mathare skipper Titus Mulama was at pains to explain how his side threw away three points to register their sixth draw in seven matches,
“I believe we had it. We controlled the game and played well today. Its unfortunate that we had to concede in the last five minutes, but we hope we can build on this because we are playing well,” said Mulama.
Ben Mangoli almost put the scoreboard into operation three minutes into the encounter with a 25m shot that just went wide off the upright.
Okumu announced himself in the fixture by having two bites at the cherry with two rasping shots that were successful blocked by Musalia.
Mathare’s sojourns into enemy territory were checked by Gregory Nyapala and Edwin Barasa as Leopard’s attacking corps led by Itubu Imbem put Francis Kimanzi’s side on the backfoot.
However, it was the 2008 champions who broke the deadlock in the 16th minute through veteran strike James Omondi.
Mathare caught ‘Ingwe’ on the counter as Jaffar Gichuki launched a teasing cross from the far side into Leopards’ penalty area for Omondi to tap in from close range.
The goal sparked Mathare into life as they portrayed intricate passing that carves up Leopards.
Mulama almost put his team further ahead with half time approaching with an excellent free kick just outside Leopard’s penalty area but it his shot hit the side netting.
Leopards began the second half with half time approaching with constant raids on Mathare’s goal but were still off the mark.
Mathare did not sit back as well as they as they went into attack mode as well with Omondi almost getting a brace following a cross from Andrew Tololwa but his skewed header is gathered by Leopards keeper Lawrence Webo.
Imbem himself almost leveled the tie with ten minutes left in normal time only for his close range header to bounce off the cross bar.
However the product they yearned for the most was delivered in the 92nd minute by Okumu who capped off a stunning display at the sharp end of ‘Ingwe’s’ attack.