NAIROBI, October 24 – Nairobi City Stars clawed their way off the relegation zone after edging out 10-man Uhuru FC 1-0 in the penultimate round of the SportPesa Premier League on Saturday at Ruaraka Grounds.
At Nairobi City Stadium, KCB dropped to the relegation places after going down 2-0 to visitors Ulinzi Stars with Enos Ochieng and Eric Apul were on target.
In Kisumu, AFC Leopards drew 1-1 with in-form Muhoroni Youth whilst Bandari were 3-1 victors over Western Stima.
Ugandan winger, Jimmy Bagaye gave the Kawangware based side hope of pulling off another great escape with the winner in the 72nd minute to push his side off the bottom two for the first time this season.
With a match to go, KCB’s loss saw their rivals in the relegation battle leapfrog the Bankers to 14th on 27 points, two ahead of Rishadi Shedu’s charges who are staring at the axe for the first time since they were promoted in 1999.
Going to the final fixtures next weekend, City Stars cannot afford to drop points when they hosts tricky Sony Sugar unless KCB draw or lose to stubborn Western Stima away in Kisumu.
However, it’s yet to be known how many teams will go down since no one has an idea how many sides will be relegated/promoted with the Memorandum of Understanding agreed between Football Kenya Federation and the Kenyan Premier League yet to be executed.
After a barren first half, Bagaye who handed City Stars a lifeline last weekend when he scored in their 1-0 win over KCB, was at it again after he nodded home from Arthur Museve’s rebound.
The goal came moments after Ushuru towering defender, Joseph Shikokoti was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Gambian striker, Ebrimmah Sanneh could have send City Stars ahead at the half hour mark but his header narrowly missed the target.
In Kisumu, Muhoroni came from behind to salvage a point against limping Leopards in a match where both sides ended with ten men after Ingwe keeper, Lucas Indeche and the Millers forward, Toafiq Zakari were sent off.
Goals from each half saw Bernard Mang’oli drove home the lead for the visitors from a set piece before Wellington Ochieng levelled when he nodded in from a corner.
Muhoroni started on a high and could have gone 2-0 up but Wycliffe Ochomo was wasteful, first when he was put through from a long ball on the left with the former Gor Mahia and Ulinzi Stars forward doing well to beat the offside but his delay saw Eric Masika shield him for Indeche to collect the ball.
Leopards unsettled the Sugar belt side after 10 minutes to force them concede a free-kick near the edge of the box for Manh’oli to curl over the wall for his fifth goal of the season.
Ingwe were buoyed by the goal with Victor Omune coming close for the double after Patrick Kagogo picked him with an in-swinger from the right.
The second chance for Ochomo came in the 35th when he did well to beat Indeche who had come off his goal area but he took too much time to execute to see Leopards skipper, Jackson Saleh Saleh clear his delivery off the line.
Muhoroni restored parity on resumption after Indeche produced a man of the match performance to keep of Wycliffe Nyangechi when Ochieng headed in from a corner.
With 12 minutes to stoppage time, drama unfolded when Indeche slapped substitute Zakari who retaliated in front of referee, Amos Ichingwa who made a wise decision to send both off.
That meant the two ended their season prematurely since they will miss the final matches.