NAIROBI, April 23 – Mathare United returned to the summit of the SportPesa Premier League table despite being frustrated to a one-all draw by Muhoroni Youth at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday evening.
Tusker FC who were at the top moving in to match day ten failed to keep their place after suffering a 1-0 loss at the hands of Posta Rangers in the early kick off.
Both teams finished with 10 men after Posta’s Dancun Otieno and Tusker’s Shafik Batambuze were sent off with 10 and five minutes remaining respectively for second yellow cards.
Joseph Mbugi scored the all important goal from the penalty spot after Joseph Nyaga was brought down by Eugene Asike. Humphrey Mieno would have put Tusker level with three minutes left but he skied a glorious chance six yards out after being picked up by Danson Kago from the right.
It was a pleasant result for Mathare who got into the pitch just 15 minutes later, but their high spirits were sunk two minutes into the match with Wycliffe Ochomo scoring his seventh goal of the season.
The burly forward picked up a long ball from Paul Muchika, pulled the ball down with one touch before side footing into the bottom left of Robert Mboya’s goal for Muhoroni’s opener.
Mathare however got themselves back on level terms on the quarter hour mark via a beautiful Whyvonne Isuza effort. The creative midfielder volleyed in from inside the box after Crispin Oduor had battled with three markers on the right before floating in an enticing cross.
The match was a balanced affair, most of the contention being reduced to the midfield and both goalkeepers were never tested much. Muhoroni should have doubled their tally in the 23rd minute but Abbas Akinyemi miscued his shot after goal scorer Ochomo had picked him up at the edge of the box.
Mathare’s defense had been shaky with Ochomo proving too much to handle. However, the sugar belt side’s finishing was not at its best and Mathare were not punished.
At the start of the second period, Mathare head coach Francis Kimanzi altered his central defense pairing, bringing in Robinson Kamura for Dennis Orenge. Kamura has been away from the team for the last three months as he was away in Norway for a Mathare Youth Sports Association exchange program.
–Tusker edged out-
Ochomo’s threat would be eliminated, but not due to Kamura’s presence. The striker picked up a knock on his ankle and limped off, being replaced by Moses Arita. Muhoroni tactician James Omondi also hauled off the rather quiet and subdued Sammy Ndung’u for Lwamba Bebeto as he sought to add some spice in his attack.
Mathare continued to pile the pressure in search of a second goal that would have stretched their lead at the apex of the standings to 23 points but their efforts were futile. Kamura had a chance to announce his return in style but his effort from a free-kick 30-yards out went awry.
Muhoroni had chances to pull the rug under Mathare’s feet with Akinyemi having a second chance one on one with Mboya in the Mathare goal, but the shot stopper made himself big as he narrowed the angel to stop the Nigerian forward’s attempt.
Substitute Bebeto had shouts for a penalty downed in the 76th minute after appearing to tumble under David Mwangi’s trailing foot inside the box but the referee would have none of it.
The sugar belt side frustrated Mathare further in the remaining few minutes of the game, taking as many minutes off the clock by going down from any minimal contact.
Mathare are now a point above Tusker and remain on course to wind up the opening half of the season within the top three. This is the best start ever by the slum boys in the league since 2008 when they were crowned champions.