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Stima black-out limping Leopards

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NAIROBI, Kenya, September 15- Western Stima electrocuted Tusker Premier League leaders AFC Leopards 2-1 in Nakuru to short circuit their title hopes on Saturday a week ahead of their crucial derby against archrivals Gor Mahia.

A brace from Wesley Kemboi in the first half looked set to nail the Leopards before Mike Baraza pulled one back with just over ten minutes to go to set up a grandstand finale but Stima held on for a famous win.

“It’s a big defeat, I’m not happy about our play especially in the first half, we tried to make it better in the second but it was too late,” Leopards Dutch coach, Jan Koops lamented after his side missed out on putting a five-point cushion between them and K’Ogalo who are charging down their necks.

“I’m happy about the victory; we had prepared well and have inflicted a big injury to Leopards in their title campaign.

“We want to be in the top-five bracket in the league and I think my target will be achieved,” said his opposite number Henry Omino after the match.

In the opening exchanges at the encounter that was played at Afraha Stadium, Paul Were threatened from the flanks but his deliveries to the box failed to cause panic in the Stima backline.

Bernard Mangoli sent a dangerous cross across the face of goal in the eighth minute but Jonas Nahimana failed to connect as it went out for a goal kick.

Kemboi who kept the Ingwe defence occupied had the chance to slot in the opener but he blasted the ball over the post with only keeper Barnabas Tiema to beat.

He made amends six minutes later when he beat his marker to head in an Aloyce Mangi cross to the left corner with Tiema beaten all hands up.

Ingwe pushed on to find the equaliser with Laurent Tumba finding Martin Imbalambala but the utility man blasted his effort wide with keeper Robert Mandela narrowing the angle on the near post.

Sensing their bluntness, Koops made a double substitution with Baraza coming in for Tumba as Charles Okwemba was replaced by Jimmy Bageya five minutes to the break

However, Stima continued with their impressive play and made it 2-0 when Kemboi got to the end of an exchange of passes as the light Leopards midfield opened them up.

It was a largely even game in the second period as both sides missed chances to score, with striker Allan Wanga who was lacklustre blasting a shot with only the keeper to beat at the hour mark.

Mangi who provided the first goal also had his chance in the 74th after he snatched the ball from a sloppy Nahimana inside the box but he took his time and lost the ball to a charging Tiema who cleared.

He was on the attack three minutes later when he received a pass from Kemboi but his left foot shot went wide.

Baraza on the other end scored the lone goal for Leopards in the 78th after he dribbled from the left and placed a low lying shot to the near post that an outstretched Mandela couldn’t stop from going in.

As a rejuvenated Ingwe pushed for a late equaliser, they won a free kick through Wanga in the final minute but Nahimana’s shot went straight into the hands of the keeper as he broke down into tears after the final whistle.

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