MACHAKOS, Kenya Apr 28- At the end of 90 minutes, nothing could separate the top two sides on the SportPesa Premier League standings, Tusker FC and Mathare United.
They played to a two-all draw in an entertaining match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Thursday evening as the status quo at the apex of the league was maintained.
Both coaches left the pitch contended with the shared spoils after Tusker’s Mike Khamati and reigning midfielder of the year Eric Johannah grabbed a brace each, Mathare keeping their single point lead at the top.
“It was a high tempo match and some sort of a derby. It was expected to be tough and for me, I am happy with the point. We had chances, we scored, they also had chances and scored and missed some but at the end of the 90 minutes it is a fair result,” Tusker head coach Paul Nkata said after the match.
His opposite number Francis Kimanzi who was facing his immediate former employer was also pleased, despite Mathare picking their second consecutive draw.
“It was a very tough match but entertaining. We saw beautiful goals and I can’t complain about the result. It was a deserved point,” Kimanzi opined.
Khamati scored perhaps the fastest goal of the league this season, heading Tusker into the lead within 30 seconds of the match from a Noah Wafula cross straight from kick off.
Mathare responded two minutes later, Johannah tapping home at the far post from a decent delivery from Robinson Kamura’s free-kick.
Former AFC Leopards finisher Khamati had another glorious opportunity to put Tusker back into the lead on the half hour mark but his connection from a Noah Wafula shot after beating the offside trap six yards out went awry.
On the opposite end, Mathare had a response with Edward Seda striking a shot just wide after Derrick Onyango teed him up from a Bernard Otieno cross.
The Slum Boys though got into the lead via a Johannah beauty, the midfielder took one touch off his marker from a Seda pass, moved into space with his second and set himself up with the third for a superb left foot shot into the bottom left of David Okello’s goal.
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But the lead was short-lived, Tusker seeming to read from the same script Mathare had after going down.
Khamati took advantage of an error from goalkeeper Robert Mboya who spilled a seemingly harmless cross from Wafula, and Khamati was placed at the right spot to capitalize and take the game back level.
Mboya dislocated his shoulder after an awkward land as he attempted to make amends from the spill to block off a goal bound Khamati. Peter Odhiambo was brought in to take his place.
At the start of the second period, Mathare kept to their attacking game plan with Kamura having a free-kick fly inches over the bar from 30-yards out while Bernard Otieno saw his close range shot parried away by Okello in the 58th minute.
Tusker had a superb chance from a counter in the 64th minute, John Macharia spraying the ball wide for Noah Wafula, but the former Leopards man took a decision to shoot at goal instead of squaring to Khamati who had sprinted into the box.
The two sides threw everything at each other in the final 20 minutes of the match, but at the end, nothing could separate the two sides.
Elsewhere, defending champions Gor Mahia continued with their resurgence as they beat Bandari 2-0 at the Mbaraki Complex in Mombasa.
George Blackberry Odhiambo’s deflected shot in the 53rd minute and Felly Mulumba’s own goal minutes to the final whistle gave K’Ogalo a priceless three points that lifted them to sixth on the log.
At the Muhoroni Complex, Wycliffe Ochomo’s form continued to rise as he struck twice in Muhoroni Youth’s 2-0 win over City Stars.
The two goals takes the former Gor Mahia and Ulinzi Stars finisher to nine goals, four ahead of second placed Obadiah Ndege and Mike Khamati.
At the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, Posta Rangers leaped to third position on the standings with a 1-0 win over Ushuru, their second consecutive win while in Nakuru, John Mark Makwatta scored a brace as Ulinzi Stars beat Chemelil Sugar 2-1 to leap to fifth.