NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12- National Super League leaders Nzoia United remained unbeaten after a hard fought 1-0 win over fellow promotion chasers KCB at the Camp Toyoyo Ground in Jericho on Wednesday.
Brian Yakhama scored the solitary goal in the 6th minute with a well taken freekick as Nzoia moved to 70 points top of the log, 12 ahead of second placed Nakumatt FC who were held to a barren draw by Nairobi Sitima at the Ruaraka Complex.
Nzoia head coach Bernard Mwalala was elated with the result and now targets only four wins for his side to confirm their status in the Kenyan Premier League next season.
“We knew it was going to be tough because KCB is a very good side with technical players who are very fast. We had to take our chances and I can say this was one of our luckiest wins. We really worked for it and survived many times,” Mwalala said.
“I firmly believe that we will gain promotion next season. If we get four wins out of the remaining 10 matches, I believe we are safe.”
Yakhama curled the ball over the wall and into the bottom left of Juma Mpongo’s goal after the keeper was found flat footed.
KCB had a chance to draw level in the 12th minute but former Ligi Ndogo striker Brian Yator tapped wide from a Benjamin Chaka low cross.
Nzoia kept the pressure with their ball playing nature swinging the ball around with ease and had another close effort in the 17th minute go wide after Masita Masuta flushed a header from a Yakhama cross from the right.
The Bankers had their best chance of the match on the half hour mark after Chaka released Yator with a superb pass cutting between the two central defenders, but the forward could not hit the target after going wide, forcing the keeper to an easy catch from his pale effort.
In the second half, KCB head coach Leonard Saleh introduced Edwin Oduor and Nicholas Kamau for Samuel Mwangi and Yator as he sought to add some fresh legs in attack.
The changes added some punch and Oduor should have done better with 15 minutes left on the clock after Nzoia keeper Benson Mangala spilled the ball on his path but the striker could only hit wide.
Nzoia thought they had hammered the final nail on KCB’s coffin with six minutes left, but Masita Masuta’s header from a Yakhama cross on the left was ruled out for offside, a decision that was protested.
On the other end, KCB should have been awarded a penalty after Kamau was axed inside the box, but the ref waved play on.
“I am disappointed because the referee seemed to have come into the match with a fixed mind. There were some decisions that were really baffling. But we will not lose hope. We have a chance of fighting for promotion and we have 10 games which we must get something out of,” Saleh said.
-Zoo, Wazito draw-
In the late kick-off, Wazito played to a 2-2 draw with promotion chasing Zoo Kericho and should have won the game but Piston Vinyuli lost a second half penalty.
Wazito opened the scores in the 11th minute with Vinyuli tapping in after the Zoo keeper had spilled a shot from Joe Waithira. Two minutes to the break, an error from keeper Steven Misikhu earned Zoo their equalizer.
Zoo doubled their lead six minutes into the second half after Nicholas Kipkurui tapped in from a defensive mix up. 10 minutes later, experienced midfielder Jaffery Oyando restored parity with a half volley inside the box.
Vinyuli had the opportunity to win the match in the 65th minute from the spot, but he sent his effort wide after Patient Lukige was axed inside the box.
“We are thankful for the single point because this was a very tough match. The good thing is that the other teams behind us also drew their matches which gives us a sigh of relief. But we need to go back and work on our mistakes to ensure we bounce back to winning ways,” assistant coach Hassan Iswekha said.