NAIROBI, Kenya, July 24- Two quick fire first half goals from winger Noah Wafula and Nigerian import Austin Ikenna was all that limping AFC Leopards needed to clinch a first victory in four after overcoming Nairobi City Stars 2-0 at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
Wafula capitalized on City Stars midfield blunder to net the first after five minutes before skipper Martin Imbalambala set up Ikenna who powerfully headed home nine minutes later for the decisive cushion.
At the Ruaraka Grounds, Tusker trimmed champions Gor Mahia’s lead to three points following their 2-0 win over KCB who looked destined for the drop.
Jesse Were and Isamel Dunga were on target in the second-half to pile more miseries to the Bankers who are still rooted at the bottom with nine points after managing only two wins.
“The match was very positive especially coming from a loss. The players had psychological fear and that’s why we didn’t play well in the first half but the only way to believe it was over is when they scored,” Tusker FC head coach Francis Kimanzi stated after the win.
At the Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium, Ingwe coming from a 2-1 loss to Mathare United, had to collect maximum points to avoid dropping to the relegation zone.
They embarked on salvaging pride with a roaring start with Imbalambala leading fro m the front with fierce shot that went slightly above the bar.
At the half hour mark, midfielder Humphrey Mieno could have extended the lead after receiving Musa Mudde’s cross but the former Sofapaka player failed to net his third goal for Leopards after his feeble shot was rescued by keeper Fredrick Majani.
Ikenna and Wafula had further chances but Majani’s keeping denied the pair their braces as Mieno’s thunderbolt went inches wide with the Kawangware based side tightening the defence.
Keeper Martin Musalia who benched first choice Wycliffe Kasaya, was in form stopping Kevin Ochieng’s header and Nelson Marasowe’s efforts to ensure they pick maximum points.
In the early kick-off at the Ruaraka Grounds, forward Michael Olunga netted his sixth goal of the season to see Thika United beat visiting Western Stima 1-0.
Olunga coming from attending trials in South Africa found the back of the net in the 72nd after former Gor Mahia midfielder Moses Odhiambo set him to place the ball beyond keeper Gabriel Adika’s reach.
After having a dull first-half, Michael Luvutsi came close three minutes to the break after unleashing a long range shot that hit the cross bar but David King’atua’s introduction in the second-half strengthened the attacking that resulted to the goal.
The win saw Thika United beak break their 11-game winless run against Stima with head coach John Kamau applauding his charges for bouncing back from a 3-1 defeat against KCB.
Elsewhere in Machakos, Bonface Onyango and Eric Apul were on target as Ulinzi Stars overcame hosts Mathare 2-0 in the early kick-off to see the Slum boys succumb to their first defeat after in three.
Onyango scored Ulinzi’s opener four minutes after Noah Abich had missed a penalty for Mathare when Oliver Ruto brought down Daniel Mwaura in the box.
Apul doubled the lead in the 63rd after pouncing on Kevin Amwayi’s rebound to ensure they go back to Nakuru with maximum points and maintain their top-eight slot.
The final match at Kenyatta Stadium saw veteran striker John Baraza head home his seventh goal of the season to help Sofapaka salvage a point against visiting Chemelil Sugar.
Hamisi Mwinyi broke the deadlock for the Sugar Millers from a counter attack in the 84th, before Tony Ndolo picked Baraza with a pin point cross to restore parity four minutes later.