NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Super-sub Stephen Owusu scored with his first touch off the bench to help Tusker FC stay firm at the top of the Kenyan Premier League after beating hosts Bandari 1-0 at the Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa.
The result saw Tusker open a seven point lead on 51 points ahead of defending champions Gor Mahia who are second on 44 points but with a game in hand as they are scheduled to play Muhoroni Youth in the final of the KPL Top 8 on Sunday.
The game was destined for a draw but the introduction of Owusu paid off immediately in the 83rd minute after the Ghanaian powerfully headed Osborn Monday’s cross past Bandari keeper and custodian Wilson Obungu who tried to save the ball though it was too late as the ball had already crossed the line.
Owusu had come on for Robert Omunuk and Tusker head coach Paul Nkata heaped praises on the super-sub.
“It’s not yet a big gap because Gor have a match in hand but what I am assure off is that we should not lose the reaming two matches so that we get the trophy. Owusu did what he was brought to do. It’s not yet over we have four matches to play,” elated Nkata said.
On the other hand, Bandari stand-in-coach Ken Odhiambo slammed his defenders for failing to hold on for the point.
“We went to sleep in the last minute, I could see the goal coming and I was shouting here for someone to mark Owusu because the matches we have played against Tusker they always scored on the blind side. My defenders marked poorly but we will go back to the drawing board and correct that mistake,” Odhiambo stated.
In a first half that Tusker dominated having six goal attempts against Bandari’s three; the Brewers fluffed two clear chances to see each side have one shot on target.
Youngster Omar Bora Afya was the first culprit when he wasted a well set up pass from David King’atua on the left to see Tusker keeper David Okello angle himself to calmly collect Bora Afya’s feeble cross.
Experienced Allan Wanga squandered the second chance when he hurriedly volleyed over with his weaker left foot from a George Mandela assist, having received a pin point cross from Noah Wafula on the right.
Tusker’s Anthony Ekaliani Ndolo came close in the 20th minute when he raced on the right to beat onrushing Obungu but defender Mohammed Shariff cleared off the line.
In the second half, Obungu was forced to tip the ball over after Shafik Batambuze shoot towards goal instead of a fair play.
Wanga had another chance in the 64th minute but failed to find the back of the net after a good exchange of passes from Ndolo and Humphrey Miano to feed the former AFC Leopards forward who took time to make decision to see Obungu resue the danger.
Seven minutes later, Mieno fluffed an opportunity with only the keeper to beat despite doing well to control the ball with his knee and shooting wide.
But cometh the hour cometh the man as Owusu was introduced and the striker proved his worth when he nodded home past Obungu to send the Tusker bench into jubilating knowing well they only need to win three matches to reclaim the title they last won in 2012.
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