THIKA, Kenya, Mar 19- AFC Leopards left it late before turning the style on Nakumatt beating the Kenyan Premier League newcomers 3-0 in their first match of the 2017 season at the Thika Sub-County Stadium on Sunday evening.
A late goal from substitute Marcelus Ingotse and a sublime volley by Mungai Kiongera added on Gilbert Fiamenyo’s first half header as the Leopards started their season with an emphatic win.
“Ingotse is a fantastic young players with very good pace and we knew getting him in with 15 minutes left would be ideal because he can always run behind the defense. I am happy with the win and how we performed today,” Stewart Hall, the AFC Leopards head coach said after the game.
In a game of not so many straight cut chances, Leopards put in their best in the final 20 minutes, injecting pace and power upfront to secure the win to charge their push for the 2017 title.
Fiamenyo dived in to head a Robinson Kamura freekick at the stroke of half time. Late in the second half, Ingotse finished off a pass from Kiongera before the latter volleyed home a cross from Whyvonne Isuza just two minutes later.
The first half didn’t produce as many goal scoring chances and when they did come up, most were in favor of Ingwe.
On the quarter hour mark, Duncan Otieno saw his ferocious shot fisted away by Nakumatt shot stopper Sammy Okinda after being set up by Fiamenyo. Nakumatt’s first chance at goal was in the 30th minute when a mistake by Bernard Mang’oli in defense gifted Ronald Musana the ball but the Ugandan fired wide.
Two minutes on the turn, Mang’oli almost made up for his error but his shot from the edge of the area was well saved by Okinda for an unused corner. Okinda who had shown some good quality commanding his defense and distributing the ball made another crucial save to deny Kiongera.
The striker had gotten off Kennedy Onyango with some brilliant piece of skill on the right but to squeeze in a shot at the near post.
Okinda was finally beaten in the 44th minute when Fiamenyo dived in to head a well delivered freekick from Robinson Kamura.
Leopards kept the pace at the start of the second half and 13 minutes in Kiongera was denied by the crossbar after he dived in to meet a Marcus Abwao cross.
Nakumatt on the other side had a chance in the 73rd minute with Kepha Aswani almost haunting his former employers with a ferocious shot from the edge of the area, but Ian Otieno parried the ball away.
In the final 10 minutes, the introduction of Ingotse for Fiamenyo paid dividends with the youngster slicing the ball home from a Kiongera assist. The latter then finished off the job two minutes later with a superb volley from an Isuza cross.