NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19- Chemelil Sugar became the first team to qualify for the Kenyan Premier League Under-20 Championship quarter-finals after a 2-0 win over 10-man defending champions Mathare United at the Camp Toyoyo ground on Monday morning.
Mohammed Mulisya grabbed a brace with two decent strikes in either half as the Sugar Millers built on their opening day 2-1 win over Sony Sugar to move to six points and top the group.
In the early kick off, April champions Ulinzi Stars revived their hopes of qualifying to the last eight with an emphatic 4-1 win over Posta Rangers to blow the group open. Posta had won their opening match 2-1 against Gor Mahia.
Mathare’s head coach Gabriel ‘Kingi’ Njoroge was left disappointed with his side after the final whistle, alluding they were overconfident after winning in their first match.
“There was an element of laxity; probably they thought it was going to be easy. We under estimated our opponents and what was worse is that we failed to use our chances. There is pressure heading into the final group match because we have to win,” Njoroge told Capital Sport.
His opposite number, Charles Odero was elated with the win, lauding his boys for their precision.
“We knew Mathare are a very good technical side and our tactic was to sit back and let them play, then we hit on the counter. We have six points yes, but we can’t afford to relax for the final match. We want to top the group,” Odero stated.
Mohammed opened the scores 20 minutes into the first half with a well taken half volley after taking his chance from the edge of the box off a Ban Kiprotich cross.
Mathare were punished for laxity in their finishing as this was Chemelil’s first effort at goal. The junior ‘Slum Boys’ went close to equalizing three minutes after going down when Harambee Stars under-20 winger David Odhiambo headed over from a difficult angle after connecting to a Martin Ongori cross.
Chemelil keeper was called into a save in the 27th minute, diving to his left to pick out a low shot from Stephen Otieno who had taken his chance in between a forest of legs inside the box.
In the second half Chemelil sought to bury the game early and six minutes in, Mohammed struck his second with another well taken shot from the edge of the box after the Mathare backline poorly cleared the ball.
The defending champions increased their effort after going two down with left back Samwel Semo striking a wonderful shot after progressing from his defensive position but the Chemelil keeper parried for a corner.
Abdallah Ahmed was however more guilty of three clear missed chances as Mathare built on the pressure in the sunset minutes of the game.
In the 70th minute, he failed to get a foot on the ball with a gaping goalmouth after Semo did all the hard work on the left to dice in the ball across the face of goal from the left.
Ahmed missed another chance five minutes later, getting the ball over the bar in an attempt to loop over the keeper from a great David Owino pass.
Mathare’s day went from bad to worse with their keeper Job Ochieng being shown a straight red card after tackling a Chemelil defender as the last man.
Despite going a man down, Mathare upped the pressure, but Chemelil guarded their rear with precision and ensured they cement their place in the last eight.
-Ulinzi revive hopes-
Earlier, Ulinzi Warriors bounced back from their disappointing 1-0 loss to Western Stima on the opening day in emphatic fashion, turning on the style in the final 10 minutes of the game to win 4-1.
Defender Alex Masinde sent Ulinzi ahead in the 21st minute after slamming the ball home from close range following a poorly defended corner from Iddi Hassan.
Ulinzi had a chance in the 34th minute with defender Edward Shida heading wide from another Salim delivery.
Posta had their first chance in the 38th minute with Clinton Obasanjo’s shot from the edge of the box going narrowly wide with keeper Brian Bwire well beaten.
In the second half, Ulinzi kept on the same pace and seven minutes in, Masinde came close to a brace but his rasping free kick from the edge of the area came off the crossbar.
The second goal however came in with Shida sneaking in behind the defense to head in from a Martin cross after the lanky forward did well to get into the box from the right and pick out his team mate.
Posta however responded immediately with George Kimani looping over Bwire in the Ulinzi goal after the former champions’ backline went to sleep following their two goal advantage.
But Posta’s hopes of a comeback were dashed almost immediately with Moses Mwangi striking a low shot into the bottom right after finding space at the edge of the box.
Martin made it comfortable with Ulinzi’s fourth showing sheer strength to wade off the challenge of Posta defenders and slotted the ball to the far post.
Both teams will qualify for the last eight if they win their last matches with Rangers facing Western Stima while Ulinzi will face Gor Youth.