Football Football

Owusu penalty sends Tusker top of the table

Tusker's Noah Wafula attempts to go past Homeboyz midfielder Robert Ouma/PHOTO- Courtesy
Tusker’s Noah Wafula attempts to go past Homeboyz midfielder Robert Ouma/PHOTO- Courtesy

MUMIAS, Kenya, May 6- Ghanaian striker Stephen Owusu stepped off the bench to score an 80th minute penalty as Tusker FC went back to the top of the SportPesa Premier League table with a 1-0 win away to Kakamega Homeboyz at the Mumias Complex on Friday.

The Brewers have had a superb record away and the win in Mumias means they chalk up their sixth win in seven matches on the road.

They now move to 24 points, two ahead of second placed Mathare United.

The game had threatened to degenerate into an ugly ending with a section of Homeboyz fans pelting stones at the first assistant referee for an apparent penalty appeal turned down after the ball ricocheted off Martin Kiiza’s head and everyone thought he had handled it.

The Homeboyz technical bench was up in arms over the decisions especially towards the end of the game and the altercations that ensued with match officials ended up in the sending off of midfielder Augustine Etemesi who was on the bench.

Tusker sought to have a commanding start to the game knowing a place on top of the log was in store in case they picked up three points in Mumias.

Mike Khamati had a third minute shot deflected for a corner from an incisive Jackson Macharia pass.

A minute later, Noah Wafula side-footed in a cross from the right after being played through by Humphrey Mieno but no one was inside the box to direct the ball into the net.

Homeboyz, playing infront of their home fans took in the early pressure and had their first opportunity at goal in the eight minute with a Charles Momanyi free-kick from the edge of the box easily picked out by keeper David Okello in the Tusker goal.

On the quarter hour mark, skipper Ali Bhai had a superb chance after being played through by Moses Mudavadi, but he took a huge first touch of the ball allowing Osborne Monday to slide in and block the attempted shot.

On the other end, Homeboyz were almost made to pay for the missed opportunity but referee Hosea Omondi ruled out Mike Khamati’s goal with the striker having controlled Macharia’s cross with his arms before lifting the ball over an advancing Mike Wanyika.

Tusker were making the most out of the beautiful playing surface in Mumias, moving the ball around with Monday commanding the midfield with finesse.

The Brewers put up a superb team move in the 22nd minute with Ekaliani Ndolo cutting back a cross for Macharia from the right but the former Thika United man could not get a powerful leg behind the ball, the effort rolling weakly out of play.

In the second half, the hosts were the stronger starters and seven minutes from the restart, Jeremiah Wanjala should have done better with a free header inside the box but he put the effort wide from a pin point Athman Buki cross.

Tusker head coach Paul Nkata sensing his side were tinkering on a loss added some fresh legs in attack, pulling out Noah Wafula and Khamati for Timonah Wanyonyi and Stephen Owusu respectively on the hour mark.

In the 65th minute, Eugene Asike rose highest in the midst of Homeboyz defenders but his header from a Shafik Batambuze corner sailed over.

Tusker’s pressure paid off in the 80th minute when Mieno was brought down inside the box by Homeboyz keeper Mike Wanyika after racing to pick up a pass from Monday.

Owusu stepped forward to send the spot kick through the middle and Tusker endured some nervous moments in the final minutes to pick the win.