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Tusker sink Mathare to restore five-point lead

Hashim Sempala salutes goal scorer Clifford Alwanga.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Hashim Sempala salutes goal scorer Clifford Alwanga.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6- Goals in either half from Clifford Alwanga and Allan Wanga saw league leaders Tusker FC banish a three-game winless streak and restore their five point lead at the top with a 2-0 win over Mathare United at the Kasarani Stadium on Saturday.

The game was delayed for 35 minutes over the unavailability of an ambulance and it was such an embarrassment for a game of such a high caliber which was being beamed live across the continent.

This was the second time such a thing was happening with the Tusker v Sony Sugar match in the second leg having been delayed by close to 15 minutes due to the absence of police officers

Despite delay, the game kicked off to a frantic start. Five minutes into the game, Alwanga had justified his start with a well taken goal that got keeper Robert Mboya off his line.

The former KCB midfielder picked the ball in midfield, drove two yards and seeing the keeper a few metres off his line, he pulled a low shot that hit the inside of the post on its way in.

Both coaches had made changes to their teams in the wake of each going for three winless matches. A common change for the two was the goalkeeper with Robert Mboya returning for the first time, since incidentally being injured in a match involving the two in Machakos in the first leg, taking Wycliffe Kasaya’s spot.

On the opposite end, David Okello returned to Tusker’s starting eleven at the expense of Martin Musalia who had been preferred in the last two matches.

Despite going down early, Mathare took the game to Tusker and forced their visitors to play much on the back foot. Crispin Oduor had a speculative long range effort on the half volley, but it did more to distract the ball boys than it did on keeper Okello.

Mathare were charging up on the wings especially from youngster Cliff Nyakeya, signed in mid-season from Gor Mahia Youth. Tusker however had height and experience in defense, Lloyd Wahome and James Situma working well to read and avert danger.

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On the opposite end, Tusker were mostly relying on breaks having been pushed into their own half. In one such opportunity, Allan Wanga shot over on the half turn after being set up from midfield by Hashim Sempala.

Danson Kago attempts to race past Mathare's Bernard Otieno.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Danson Kago attempts to race past Mathare’s Bernard Otieno.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In the second half, it was the home side that started with so much pace with Edward Seda forcing Okello into a full stretch save with a stinging shot from inside the box.

Kimanzi’s men continued pressing Tusker in their own half, but the push was pierced off their bellies after conceding the second goal from a well-executed counter attack.

Wafula raced into the box, cut back the ball to Alwanga who pulled the trigger but Wanga controlled the hot which was headed wide and blasted it into the net.

The former AFC Leopards and EL Mereikh striker almost provided for a third a minute later when he set up Wafula, but Mboya managed to race off his line and narrow the angle to block the ball for a corner.

Defender Bernard Otieno headed the ball off the line after Lloyd Wahome volleyed it back, following a half-hearted punch from a corner by Mboya.

Seeing his side hugely subdued, Kimanzi responded by throwing caution off the wind to pull out right back Otieno for winger Duke Abuya while Ronald Okoth also came on for Oduor.

But there was little impact by the two especially with Abuya forced to do more defensively as Tusker were high on the attack.

The Brewers almost capitalized on the weakness at right back Danson Kago racing past his markers before cutting back a cross, but Wanga’s effort at the far post was blocked by Mboya.

In the final 20 minutes, Mathare upped their effort going forward, dumping balls into the Tusker box in the hope of reducing the deficit. They came close with a shot inside the box from Derrick Onyango being saved by Okello.

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Tusker retained their defensive discipline to ensure they pick a win that takes them to five points off second placed Gor Mahia who play Bandari on Sunday.

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