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Tusker, Sofapaka rise as KPL returns

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JOHN-BARAZANAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – Brian Osumba’s first-half goal is all visiting Tusker FC needed to ease past Nairobi City Stars in a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) midweek clash played at Nairobi City stadium on Wednesday.

The win saw Francis Kimanzi side move up to second on 24 points pending the outcome of the crunch Chemelil Sugar against champions Gor Mahia tie on Thursday in Mumias.

In Machakos, veteran forward John Baraza netted a brace as Ekaliana Ndolo completed the rout to see Sofapaka thrash Bandari 3-0 in the first of a televised double header at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

At Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium, newcomers KRA rallied from a goal down to see off Thika United 2-1 to bounce bounce back to good form as they reclaimed third.

Inspired by a ruling that awarded them the three points accruing from their aborted match against AFC Leopards a fortnight ago, Michael Olunga struck for John Kamau’s side in the first minute before Roosevelt Blaty equalized six minutes later with Edwin Misiko sealing the victory in the 21st in an action packed first half.

Elsewhere, Ulinzi Stars held host Muhoroni Youth to a goalless draw to maintain their top 8 spot while the last fixture of the day saw bottom placed Top Fry Nakuru salvage a point after holding Mathare United 1-1.

For Kimanzi it was his second successive win after overcoming KRA 3-1 at their new home in Kinoru Stadium.

The Brewers started the match brightly as they went ahead after five minutes thanks to Osumba who combined well with Kevin Kimani to beat City Stars defender and score from a close range.

At the half hour mark, the Kawangware based side had a chance to level the scores but Jimmy Bageya’s shot was intercepted whilst looking for George Abege.

The loss condemned City Stars to the bottom at 15th with 12 points.

In Machakos County, coach Sam Timbe made two changes to the team that lost 1-2 to champions Gor Mahia with John Njoroge replacing Yusuf Juma while international Clifton Miheso starting in the absence of Patrick Kagogo.

Coming from three loses, Batoto Ba Mungu bounced back in style with Humphrey Mieno making good use of Miheso’s cross in the box to beat international keeper Wilson Obungu in the 17th but referee Amos Wanjala denied him, waving for off-side.

Three minutes later top scorer Enock Agwanda made a brilliant pass to Baraza who dribbled past one defender to set himself up with Obungu but his left foot shot went wide.

His efforts were rewarded in the 23rd when he easily tapped home Agwanda’s cross from the right flank to break the deadlock.

It only took 10 minutes for the host to double through Ekaliana Ndolo from a counter attack after Baraza’s header hit the bar for the ball to land on Ndolo who slotted home the second and his fifth in the season.

The visitors came close in the 42nd with forward Kepha Aswani bringing in a fine cross from the left but found no one in the box to tap in as the 2009 champions enjoyed a 2-0 lead at the break.

Sofapaka continued where they left on resumption with Baraza notching his brace and the third for Timbe in the 51st after connecting Danson Kago’s cross to bury Bandari’s hopes of winning the match.

At the Nyayo National Stadium KRA proved they are not in the league by fault when they bounced back after losing 3-1 to Tusker.

Thika who were relieved after KPL awarded them maximum points in their abandoned match against AFC Leopards made only one change with first choice keeper Hamuza Muwonge who picked an ankle injury paving way for Michael Wanyika.

Olunga got Thika on the start chipping the ball over keeper Philip Odhiambo to go ahead but the lead only lasted for six minutes with Blaty heading home Davies Ikocheli’s corner to restore parity.

Geoffrey Kakata could have doubled for the host in the 10th after beating defenders, leaving him with Wanyika to beat but the forward who earned his first national team cap squandered the opportunity.

Kitaka was however instrumental for the second goal after David King’atua infringed him for a free-kick that Misiko scored in the 21st to hand coach Ken Kenyatta an important win.

In the last fixture of the day basement side Top Fry Nakuru came from a goal down to hold Mathare United to a one-all draw in the second televised match played at Kennyata Stadium.

The slum boys thought they had won the match after going ahead in the 57th through Bernard Omondi’s header but it was Daniel Kamau who broke their hopes after heading home substitute Erastus Mwaniki’s cross 10 minutes later to salvage a point.

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