MOMBASA, Kenya, November 2- The complexion of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) transformed on Saturday as Sony Sugar stunned outgoing champions Tusker 3-2 with Bandari handing James Nandwa a first defeat at AFC Leopards in a game that degenerated to chaos in Mombasa.
Mathare United joined Sony in moving a step closer to survival when they officially doomed Karuturi Sport to Division 1 via a 2-0 victory at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium as police tear-gassed enraged Leopards supporters after the final whistle to quell riots following their ill-tempered defeat to Bandari that snapped a six-game winning streak.
The first encounter of the day at Nyayo witnessed a cracker of a match as the sugar millers from Awendo came from the dead at 2-1 down to topple Tusker 3-2, with Moses Arita grabbing the hat-trick that leaves them needing only one more victory in their last two games away to Chemelil and Bandari to secure their KPL status.
Raquib Milanzi and Victor Ali raced the Brewers to a 2-0 lead before Arita reduced the arrears to leave his beleaguered side trailing 2-1 at the break.
With time running out, Arita netted on 60 minutes to level the match before deciding it with a thumping finish on 80 that was worthy of retaining top flight status.
Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno’s side who lost 1-0 to Leopards midweek needed to force the result as their relegation rivals, Kakamega Homeboyz stuffed Chemelil 2-0 on Friday to leapfrog them in the standings but the win lifted them to 30 points, one above the latter.
However, the former Harambee Stars coach will not have an easy time at the coast if Bandari’s dogged display to down high flying Leopards is anything to go by.
In form Allan Wanga sent Leopards in front when he lashed on to a careless back pass, rounded keeper Wilson Obungu, before beating the despairing custodian who had retreated to his line with a low shot on 23 minutes.
However, Alloyce Mangi notched the first of his brace ten minutes later when he headed in a controversial free-kick floated in by Shaban Kenga for a 1-1 half-time score.
The Wanga, Paul Were and Noah Wafula attacking trio ran Bandari rugged in the opening period of the second half but with a matter of when, not if, Leopards would nose ahead, Mangi struck a 70th minute sucker punch when he controlled a lofted ball, strolled to the area and beat the hapless Martin Musalia in the Ingwe goal.
Moments later, Kenga had the chance to bury Leopards but fired just wide when he was released on the right by a static defence.
From that point, centre referee, Damaris Kimani and her assistants took centre stage first by turning away the first of two penalty appeals when Wanga tumbled in the box after coming together with Obungu and when Omar Islam appeared to have handled in the area.
An Eric Masika goal from a corner was chalked off for an infringement on the Bandari keeper and the crowd grew restless with the increasing simulation of injuries from the home side, matters coming to a head in the 87th when some pelted the port-siders bench with missiles.
That led to a 15 minute stoppage and when the match resumed, Kimani, blew for full time inviting further protest and stone throwing that led the police to disperse the rowdy supporters with tear gas.
“I don’t like commenting about referees but to me, at least one was a penalty and these cases are messing our football. Of course, losing is part of the game and we will lift ourselves for our last match against Homeboyz.
“Our season is not over yet, we still have to play for the GOtv Shield against Gor Mahia and we will prepare for that well. I’m at AFC until December and after that, we shall see what happens,” Nandwa said after his first loss at the club.
“Our objective to finish in the top eight has been realised. What remains for us is to see where we shall strengthen next season but this year, my players have worked so hard. We prepared well for Leopard’s attack and apart from that period we lost them, we controlled the rest of the game,” Muhiddin, who was hoisted shoulder high by his charges before chaos reigned asserted.
Having escaped from Chemelil with a draw, Mathare United all but sealed their top flight status when they condemned Karuturi to the drop with goals from Dennis Nzomo and Edwin Ombatsa.
Victory hoisted the 2008 champions above Western Stima in 12th on 32 points but they still have all to do in their last game against Sofapaka.
Stima host Sofapaka who are eyeing to cement second place after Leopards slipped on Sunday.