NAIROBI, October 3 – Mark Makwata’s hat-trick inspired Ulinzi Stars to a 3-2 win over hosts Chemelil Sugar at Moi Stadium in Kisumu in the standout game of Saturday’s action in the SportPesa Premier League.
In Mombasa, Anthony Kimani and David King’atua scored against their old club as Bandari beat relegation bound Nairobi City Stars 2-1 with Gambian, Ebrimma Sanneh notching his 10th goal of a rewarding campaign for the losers.
Ulinzi’s win over the Sugar Millers saw them stretch their unbeaten run to seven to cement second spot on 54 points, 12 behind champions Gor Mahia.
The hosts started brightly, attacking from the onset but Ulinzi custodian, Jacktone Odhiambo, who was starting for the first time since his return from military duty, stood tall.
Chemelil were rewarded for their strong start after seven minutes when Meshack Karani controlled Khamis Mwinyi’s cross before unleashing a thunderbolt for the opener but the Soldiers bounced back after quarter of an hour through Makwata who converted from the spot.
The cane cutters conceded the penalty after James Omino brought down Ezekiel Otuoma in the box.
Makwata scorcher almost gifted the military side the lead in the 60th minute but Chemelil keeper, Jairus Adira, produced a brilliant reflex save but he couldn’t stop the former City Stars forward from putting the visitors ahead four minutes later with another ferocious shot from outside the 18-yard box.
The brilliant collaboration between Otuoma and Makwata produced the third goal on 71 minutes with the latter sealing his hat-trick by rounding Adira before squeezing the ball in at the far post.
Chemelil made a game of the dying embers of the contest when Samuel Olwade pulled one from the spot after Geoffrey Kokoyo handled the ball in the area in the 77th but the military side soaked in the pressure to collect maximum points.
-City Stars misery-
City Stars desperately needed to win to boost their flailing chances of remaining in the top flight but their former players returned to haunt them.
Kimani put the home team in the lead in the 34th when he headed home a Musa Mudde delivery.
Sanneh restored parity in the 72nd when he headed in Oscar Mbugua’s cross but City Stars suffered a blow four minutes later when defender Yusuf Suf was sent off for his second yellow card in controversial fashion.
Substitute King’atua then compounded their woes by scoring from the set-piece shortly after coming on to settle the contest much to the delight of the normally calm Bandari coach, Twahir Muhiddin, who is on the verge of achieving his target of finishing top eight.