NAKURU, Kenya, Apr 9 – AFC Leopards’ perfect start to the season came to a halt after a 2-0 loss at the hands of Chemelil Sugar at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Sunday afternoon.
At the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, Ulinzi Stars handed Paul Nkata his first loss as Bandari FC coach after a 2-1 win while Posta Rangers climbed to second on the log following their solitary goal win over Western Stima.
In Thika, defending champions Tusker played to a 2-2 draw with Sofapaka while hosts Thika United beat newly promoted Zoo Kericho 1-0. At the Sudi Stadium in Bungoma, Kariobangi Sharks picked their first win of the season after seeing off hosts Nzoia Sugar 2-0.
AFC Leopards had started the season with a commanding pace picking seven points off the first three matches. But coming up against a side they have beaten only once in the league over the past 10 years, it was never going to be a mean task.
John Mwita and Hillary ‘Fordy’ Echesa scored second half goals as the sugar millers kept their perfect history over Ingwe intact. With the loss, AFC Leopards drop to sixth place on the log while Chemelil move all the way up to fourth.
Meanwhile, Posta Rangers remained unbeaten in the opening four games with Geoffrey Kataka’s solitary strike raising them all the way up to second on the log.
After a slow start, Kataka’s individual brilliance weaving into the box from far and shooting low caught out Samuel Odhiambo in the 39th minute.
“I am impressed with how we have played in the opening four games because we have only conceded one goal. We played really well against a tough opponent and I am pleased we managed to get the win,” Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo, the Posta Rangers head coach said after the match.
In the late kick off, Enosh Ochieng stepped off the bench to score the winner for Ulinzi to move them seventh on the log with a match at hand.
Ulinzi had a perfect start to the match with defender Geoffrey Kokoyo heading them into the lead inside the opening two minutes from a Daniel Waweru corner.
On-loan Gor Mahia striker Baron Oketch on his first start for the military side had done well to win an initial corner on the right after some deft step-overs saw him whisk away from Noah Abich to lay in a cross which was cut out.
Two minutes on the turn, the visitors should have drawn level but Danny Sserunkuma wasted a glorious opportunity. The Ugandan striker had picked the ball one on one with Ulinzi shot stopper James Saruni, but his attempt to lob over the keeper was futile.
Ulinzi though kept on with their powerful start to the match with Oketch and Samuel Onyango causing all sorts of problems to the Ulinzi backline on either wing.
Onyango forced a great save off Wilson Obungu in the 14th minute with a well taken shot from distance which the custodian parried away for a corner which Kokoyo once again rose highest to brush just wide off target.
Ten minutes later, Oburu was once again on point to thwart Onyango after blocking his close range effort on a follow up to a spilled Waweru shot.
Saruni was also busy on the other side with Bandari piling the pressure for an equalizer. The Ulinzi custodian positioned himself well to block away a shot from Danny Sserunkuma who had managed to control the ball inside the box after Ulinzi failed to clear a corner.
Bandari’s resilience paid off two minutes to the break when Noah Abich scored from the spot after Saruni had brought down Sserunkuma in the box.
In the second half, Ulinzi head coach Benjamin Nyangweso brought on Ochieng for Evans Amwoka while Baron Okech came off for Cliff Kasuti to add on some pace forward.
The military side piled the pressure though the tempo of the game hugely dropped down due to rain with the players running cautiously on a slippery surface.
It was the hosts who would get fortunate with Ochieng rushing to the near post to give a nifty touch to a Daniel Waweru cross and hand the soldiers the win.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men at the stroke of 90 minutes when Wilson Obungu was sent off after fouling Kasuti at the edge of the box being the last man in defense.