NAIROBI, August 10- Leaders Tusker FC failed to pull away from absent champions, Gor Mahia, at the top as Sofapaka’s title charge suffered another setback when both challengers to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) crown were held to barren draws on Sunday.
The Brewers who moved to the top last weekend on goal difference with K’Ogalo away in Rwanda for the Kagame Cup failed to gain revenge against Chemelil Sugar at the Chemelil Sports Complex.
In Mombasa, Bandari were in no mood to give Sofapaka an avenue to resuscitate their charge to a second league title since their maiden triumph in 2009 after their 2-0 home defeat to Thika United in their preceding KPL clash as the Dockers forced them to share the spoils despite a spirited second half showing.
As it stands, Tusker inched a point ahead of K’Ogalo at the summit on 39 points having played two more games as Sofapaka remained in situ on 34.
The outcomes provided a tonic for Gor, who fell in their first Kagame encounter 2-1 to Uganda’s KCCA, as they prepare to face Burundi’s Atletico on Monday in a game they must win to avoid the possibility of an early exit from the regional showpiece.
At the Chemelil Complex, Tusker braved the Cane Cutters siege as the hosts sought to complete the double over the title frontrunners that they humbled 1-0 in Ruaraka in the first leg and after the other result, leapfrog Sofapaka to third, with the pair locked on 34 but their inferior goal difference keeping them fourth.
Keeper Frederick Onyango and his backline of Wellington Murwayi, James Omino and Charles Okumu kept them at bay with Francis Kimanzi effecting five changes to the side that prevailed over Top Fry Stars to take them top on goal difference last week.
Athman Buki, Dennis Ng’ang’a, Martin Kiiza, Dennis Nzomo and Brian Osumba came on after starting on the bench last week as Harambee Stars defender Aboud Omar, Andrew Tololwa and Luke Ochieng’ gave way with Khalid Aucho and Ismail Dunga not featuring at all.
Tusker threatened first in the fifth minute when Ali Abondo was put through on goal by the in form Osumba but he shot straight at the keeper. Osumba was at it again a minute later but he sent his shot wide.
Chemelil came close to opening the scoring in the 29th but Meshack Karani hesitated after receiving a through ball from Gearson Likonoh before making a hash of his finish.
Karani spurned another opportunity in the 50th while second half substitute, Innocent Wafula, had his chance from a corner kick but Tusker keeper Samuel Odhiambo was equal to the task.
After a tedious first half in Mombasa, Sofapaka launched raids in the second for the advantage with Danson Kago failing to find a route past Bandari second choice goalkeeper Kenneth Onyach in the 68th.
Two minutes later, Shaban Kenga put Abdullatif Omar through on goal but watched on in dismay when his team mate failed to send the ball past David Okello in the Sofapaka goal.
Kenga decided to take on the responsibility thereafter but even he could not rattle the net as Okello gobbled up his weak effort to leave Bandari, the surprise package of last season, stuck in 12th on 23.
-Material from SuperSport.com used in this report