NAIROBI, Kenya, April 28 – A brace from Itubu Imbem including a penalty helped AFC Leopards beat Mahakama FC 2-1 at the Nyayo National stadium on Wednesday.
The victory did not come easy for Leopards who had to contend with an inquisitive Mahakama side who asked questions of Chris Makokha’s side.
“We’re so happy to have gotten the three points. We had a lot of chances to score and the margin could have been higher,” said Leopards captain Peter Wainaina.
A disappointed Mahakama skipper Eric Ochieng expressed his disappointment with some of the rulings of the officials.
“Luck was definitely not on our side today and I also don’t agree with some of the fouls the ref said we conceded,” said Ochieng.
The match sparked to life in the 17th minute when Edwin Baraza fired the opening shot of the encounter with a low drive only to repelled by Mahakama keeper Jeremiah Maina for a corner.
Mahakama did not take long with a riposte in the 21st minute as a sweeping move upfield ends up with a chance for the lively Roy Syamba but his shot goes wide.
A minute later, Syamba makes his mark again with a through pass to Benjamin Chaka who fires on goal from an acute angle to rattle the side netting.
Imbem who asked questions of Sammy Omollo’s defence the entire evening put his team ahead on the half hour mark after the green shirts conceded a corner.
The Congolese took advantage of confusion within the opposing defence to strike from close range for the 1-0 lead at half time.
Whatever Omollo told his troops at half time since to have worked when Joseph Mbugi tied the game one all within a minute of the second period.
Mahakama then went on raid after raid on with Ochieng and david Ochieng coming close with thunderous shots, while ‘Ingwe’s’ only came from the marauding runs of Imbem.
Imbem converted the penalty in the 71st minute to put Leopards 2-1 up after a Mahakama player handled the ball.
Martin Imbalambala almost extended Leopards lead with a sizzling long range shot but Maina as he showed for most of the match could handle whatever was thrown at him.