NAIROBI, August 21- Titans Tusker FC stretched their run without victory to four successive matches and ended with 10-men after being sipped 1-0 by struggling Nairobi City Stars in a SportPesa Premier League clash at Nyayo National Stadium on Friday.
Gambian Ebrima Sanneh distilled the Brewers after tapping home the winner in the 41st minute from a Calvin Masawa inviting cross as City Stars continued their Houdini act by collecting their fourth win of the campaign to inch closer to their sustained climb off the relegation zone.
In the second match of the televised double header, George Abege found the back of the net in the 66th minute to help visiting Bandari hold Mathare United 1-1 after cancelling out Robinson Kamura’s opener.
In the early kick-off, the Brewers saw veteran custodian, Duncan Ochieng’ sent off in the 34th after handling the ball off his line with head coach Francis Kimanzi blaming the former Harambee Stars keeper for their loss that saw them stagnate fourth on 37 points.
“We lost concentration in the last quarter of the first-half and from the red card you could tell the keeper was not in the game because he was caught unawares but we pushed with 10 men with almost 65 minutes to play. It’s not easy.
“We could have got something because we worked hard and made chances but it was not good enough for the day,” disappointed Kimanzi said after the match.
His opposite number, George Njoroge hailed his charges for the win, maintaining they will survive in the top flight league despite being second off bottom on points, one below Chemelil Sugar.
“Everything goes to the players and I thank them so much with the hard work they have shown and I think they can even do better if they continue this way.
“There is always a possibility when you believe in yourself so if they believe in themselves the way I believe, they will survive,” Njoroge who picked his second win since joining the Kawangware based side underscored.
Tusker were a pale shadow of themselves especially in defence as wasteful City Stars broke through on several occasions that could have seen them lead 2-0 at the break if Sannah was not denied by the cross bar.
Jimmy Bagaye was a thorn in Tusker’s flesh with the Ugandan splitting Kimanzi’s back-line of Jockins Atudo, James Situma, Eugine Asike and Dennis Ng’ang’a to force Ochieng’ to race off his box and handle the ball with Sannah open.
Referee, Nasur Doka did not hesitate to send Ochieng’ to the showers, a result that forced Kimanzi to change his game plan by sacrificing Aziz Kemba for reserve keeper, Martin Musalia.
City Stars however, wasted the resultant in-direct free-kick with Fred Nkata’s casually taken set piece hitting the wall.
Four minutes to the breather, Sannah’s hard work finally paid off when he tapped past Matasi after Bagaye tore the left flank to swing in to Masawa who in-turn fed the Gambian forward.
Njoroge charges could have doubled the lead on the restart but Bagaye went for glory instead of setting up his country man Brunno Sserunkuma who was unmarked.
Bagaye could squander more chances as Tusker’s defence continued to leak before Sannah decided to be selfish in search for his brace that went over an empty net after Matasi had come off his line.
Mathare United head coach, Stanley Okumbi was on the touchline despite having resigned following last weekend’s dispiriting defeat at 2008 champions who are 10th on 29.
Okumbi charges started on high pace with the highlight of the opening half seeing Edwin Lavatsa’s goal disallowed in the 10th for offside but the coach slammed the match officials saying the goal should have stood.
Tempers flew on resumption with Okumbi and his opposite number Twahir Muhiddin exchanging words after Kamura nodded home a Noah Abich free-kick before Abege equalised from the counter attack.
“It was last minute and I don’t think if wasting time is fair tactics and by doing that are we improving football in Kenya? Because when you go to international level there will be no action for wasting time. We just saw they are wasting time and decided to play the ball.
“The goal that they scored was not offside, because he (Lavatsa) was not distracting the keeper,” charged Okumbi stated after the match.
Muhiddin, said, “Its good what he said was in camera because we were attacking and then Ndinya (Victor) played the ball out since two players were injured but they kept on throwing the ball back to us, now if he wants to win this way only God knows better.
“If he wants to stay on his job and he uses this tactics then I pray for him to succeed but he won’t with dirty play,” Muhiddin declared.