NAIROBI, October 18- The masters of the ‘Great Escape’ in the SportPesa Premier League (SPL), Nairobi City Stars are at it again after beating one of the direct rivals in the frenetic race against the drop, KCB, 1-0 on Sunday.
Ugandan striker, Jimmy Bageya was the hero of the hour for the Kawangware-based side with the result at Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium also having the effect of pushing hapless basement side, Nakuru All Stars closer to the relegation trapdoor after opening a five-point cushion in what is evolving to be an enthralling battle to remain in the top flight.
All Stars shared a 1-1 draw with Bandari also on Sunday in what counted as a victory for City Stars as it allowed the capital outfit to put distance between them and their direct rivals while dragging the bankers into the relegation mire.
Elsewhere, stuttering giants, AFC Leopards and Mathare United sweated out a barren draw while Thika United halted Ulinzi Stars match by flogging the soldiers 2-0.
Western Stima and Chemelil as well as Ushuru FC and Muhoroni each shared a 1-1 stalemate.
With the title already sewn up by Gor Mahia, attention has shifted to the desperate tussle to remain in the top flight with next season’s composition of the SPL yet to be decided although one thing is certain; two teams will be placed on the chopping board.
Having perfect the act of staging dramatic escapes in the previous three seasons before last, their inclusion this term coming when the Kenyan Premier League Limited restored them after a dispute with Football Kenya Federation in March, City Stars want to chart their own destiny this time round on the pitch.
Bageya struck the priceless goal in the 74th minute as All Stars fell behind to Anthony Kimani in the 24th at the Afraha Stadium backyard in Nakuru before rallying to level the match through substitute Lwamba Bebeto from the spot, ironically timed a minute after City Stars went ahead at Kasarani.
City Stars advanced to 24 points, one behind KCB who are directly above them with six to fight for before curtains come down on the season.
All Stars who were also given a top-flight reprieve by KPL at the start of the campaign, are all but doomed unless a miraculous turn around with a huge swing in goal difference in their favour occurs.
In other matches, Vincent Omuombo converted from the spot to give Thika the lead on the half hour mark in Nakuru before Kennedy Otieno sent his side to the break 2-0 to the good on the 43rd to round the final score although Ulinzi (54) are still ten points clear of third placed Sofapaka FC in third.
Wycliffe Ochomo gave visiting Muhoroni Youth a dream start when he converted in the sixth before towering defender; Joseph Shikokoti hauled the taxmen level in the 65th as Fred Shimoyo (32nd) and Samuel Ouma (85th) traded goals in the Stima versus Chemelil clash.
Shimoyo turned from hero to villain when he was sent off leading up to the equaliser.