Football Football

Last-gasp Aswani header save AFC blushes

AFC Leopards rallied from behind to equalise 1-1 against Posta Rangers.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
AFC Leopards rallied from behind to equalise 1-1 against Posta Rangers.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3- Substitute Kepha Aswani scored a stoppage-time header as AFC Leopards SC salvaged a 1-1 draw against Posta Rangers in a Kenyan Premier League match played under floodlight at the Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday night.

Aswani canceled out Cavin Odongo’s 57th minute strike that had seen Posta lead for the better part of the match.

The draw ensured Ingwe maintain their run of five matches without a loss, a result that means they remain in the second half of the standings on 25 points.

In a fast paced opening half, it was Posta who seemed hungrier to get the three points especially coming off a streak of five winless matches.

The hosts had a brilliant opportunity in the fifth minute but a mixture of lackluster finishing and bad fortune saw the chance go begging.

John Nairuka picked the ball on the right, darted past Ian Otieno but he took too long to execute the shot allowing the keeper to bounce back and block when he eventually decided to pull the trigger.

On the opposite end, AFC had a chance but Eugene Ambulwa saw his header cleared off the line by Joseph Mbugi from a Bernard Mang’oli corner.

Posta immediately launched a counter after surviving the danger, the ball being spread out to Nairuka who in turn floated in a decent cross from the right.

Cavin Odongo chested down the ball for Moses Otieno to shoot but the latter’s shot went straight to his former team mate Otieno.

AFC youngster Jack Bruno was giving Jockins Atudo some torrid time with his pace and power. The striker, just promoted from the junior team managed to beat the experienced defender in the 17th minute but his shot after a decent turn went over with keeper Patrick Matasi stumbling as he back-peddled to try and parry the ball away.

Posta were dominant in midfield with Moses Otieno having a particularly great game doing well spreading the ball upfront and organizing his side when they lost the ball.

Leopards were limited in their chances but they came close again in the 38th minute, this time Ambulwa’s header from an Allan Kateregga free kick going straight to Otieno’s arms.

Ingwe head coach Ivan Minnaert was forced into an early sub, Simon Abuko being pulled out after picking an injury and his place taken by Bernard Ongoma.

Posta took on the second half with the same venom and it took them just 12 minutes to get into the lead, Cavin Odongo striking a superb effort into the top left Otieno’s goal.

Nairuka had floated in a deep cross from the right, Nyaga heading it into the edge of the box for Mbugi to shoot but the midfielder’s shot was blocked. Odongo picked up the rebound, taking a first time shot into the net.

Five minutes later, Otieno came into Leopards’ rescue diving well to his left to keep out a shot from Collins Neto who had powered his way past Joseph Mawira from Mbugi’s long all.

Minnaert was bolted off his seat, initiating an attacking change to bring on Kepha Aswani for youngster Bruno. Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno also initiated a change in personnel, resting striker Neto for midfielder while winger Titus Achesa came on for Joseph Nyaga.

Odongo came close to doubling his and the team’s tally with a shot that took an awkward bounce on the face of Otieno, but the shot stopper managed to react fast to throw a fist and divert the ball off for a corner.

In the final quarter of the game, Leopards upped the pressure going forward. Aswani saw his wonderfuly taken shot on the half turn miss the target by inches after picking up a pass from Ndirangu.