NAKURU, Kenya, May 15- A superb second half performance from Ulinzi Stars saw them thrash Nairobi City Stars 3-0 in the SportPesa Premier League match played at Afraha Stadium on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Robinson Mwangi netted in the 73rd minute to inspire Mathare United beat 10-man Bandari at home in Mombasa and move to within a point behind leaders Tusker FC on 26 points.
In Nairobi, Kennedy Oduor found the back of the net in the 85th minute as Ushuru edged out Kakamega Homeboyz 1-0.
City Stars, placed second from bottom on the standings, should have themselves to blame after missing several chances, including a 14th minute penalty.
The military side were awakened from their slumber by the roaring head coach Robert ‘The Lion’ Matano at half time after putting up a sluggish performance in the opening 45 minutes of the match.
“There is nothing you have done in the entire first half, let’s not lie to ourselves. You have been poor!” an angry Matano told his players.
What followed was the introduction of Churchill Muloma and John Nairuka for Joseph Kuria and Cliff Kasuti respectively, and Ulinzi started playing like the four-time league champions they are.
Ten minutes into the second half, Enosh Ochieng opened the scoring after sliding to tap in a Kevin Amwayi cross.
It was a huge sigh of relief for Matano on the touchline after John Makwatta had missed a golden chance with the ball flying over his head by a whisker from close range in the sixth minute.
Seven minutes later, John Nairuka doubled the lead, connecting from the right after another Amwayi delivery.
The winger had picked up the ball well from Hamissi Abdalla, dummied past his marker and cut back a cross missed by everyone and picked up by Nairuka who was lurking unmarked on the right.
City Stars should have brought themselves right back into it but Ezekiel Odera seemed to have forgotten his shooting boots back at home as he missed a one-on -one with Ulinzi custodian James Saruni after Omar Mbongi had lost the ball cheaply.
The Kawangware based side were made to pay for their mistakes with Makwatta finally getting his name on the score sheet throgh a superb goal after dancing past three markers to shoot into the bottom left of Ronnie Kagunzi’s goal.
Ulinzi were more than relieved with the score line especially basing on their performance in the first half.
Odera should have punished them within that disastrous first half but he missed a 14th minute penalty after Hamissi Abdallah handled inside the box.
Saruni also pulled a superb save to keep his side into the game on the half hour mark when he spread his body nicely at the far post to keep put Joshua Mawira’s point blank header from an Oscar Mbugua freekick.
The closest Ulinzi got in the first half was through their top scorer Makwatta, who first shoot narrowly wide after turning inside the box in the 21st minute and at the stroke of half time, the former City Stars midfielder struck a freekick that flew straight to Kagunzi.
City Stars succumbed to their fifth loss in six matches and another relegation fighting season looms as they are on ten points, but coach John ‘Bobby’ Ogolla maintains his side will scoop themselves off the drop zone.