NAIROBI, Kenya, July 11- Sofapaka lost the chance to go level on points with league leaders Tusker when they lost 2-0 to Mathare United in a Kenya Premier League ( KPL) mid-week tie played at Nyayo Stadium on Wednesday.
The 2009 champions failed to capitalize on their head-to-head advantage given that they had won five of the last seven encounters against the Slum Boys and displayed a lackluster performance where numerous defensive blunders proved costly.
Budding striker, Jesse Were and teenager John Odhiambo netted in either side of the halves to condemn Sofapaka to defeat in a match where Mathare put together one of their best displays of the season.
The Salim Ali charges saw their title hopes dented since despite remaining third on the log, they have not won any match in the second leg but the victors moved to 13th on 18 points leapfrogging Muhoroni Youth in the process.
Were slotted in the opener in the ninth minute after he pushed his way through Edgar Ochieng and Abdallah Juma and lobbed the ball past David Okello who was off his line between the posts. He was standing in for first choice custodian Duncan Ochieng.
In a fast counter attack, current top scorer John Baraza found his way into the box in the 15th and tried to chip Martin Musalia but the ball went over the post.
Were who was named man of the match, came close to score a second ten minutes later after he broke away from his marker and lashed onto a fine through pass.
Unfortunately even after putting it way past a charging Okello he was denied by the post as it almost crossed the line into the empty goal.
He was on the charge 60 seconds later when he outpaced the Sofapaka backline but this time he couldn’t go past Okello who come all out and was quick on his feet to keep off the rebound.
Baraza who was clearly having a bad day in the office wasted a fine cross from Humphrey Meino from the right by heading it wide on the half hour mark.
John Njoroge lost the chance to tap in the equalizer four minutes later after he kicked over a rebound after Musalia had spilled the ball following a well delivered free kick by Juma.
Two minutes to the break, Musalia produced a fine save to deny Juma’s but there was no Sofapaka player to follow up as the sides went to the breather with Mathare in the lead.
It took only a couple of minutes after the restart for Joseph Mwangi to float in a fine cross after a fast run on the right that was tapped into the net by Odhiambo for the second strike that proved to be the clincher.
Ali brought on Robert Binjo for Juma in his quest for a goal in the 53rd as well as Bob Mugalia for Hetier Luvualu five minutes later but Mathare held their ground.
Baraza headed straight at Okello before he received another fine cross from Ocheing that he placed wide ten minutes later as Sofapaka’s attempts to get back to the game disappeared before they finally bowed to the loss.
“Mathare had a good outing today as everything did not work out for us with Baraza and Njoroge missing open chances during the match.
“Our defense is now a major concern since we have conceded four goals in two games but we will try and make amends ahead of the next game,” said Ali.
“It was clearly a good night for us, this time we created the chances and got the goals unlike in the other occasions
“But I still believe we would have had more goals if we would have converted all our chances,” added an elated Stanley Okumbi after the tie.