MACHAKOS, Kenya, Apr 26 – Kenyan Premier League new comers Kariobangi Sharks picked pace with their third win in four matches after a 1-0 victory over Thika United at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday afternoon.
Rodgers Omondi redeemed himself after losing a myriad of scoring opportunities to hit the back of the net with the all important goal in the second half as Sharks moved to nine points on the log.
“This is a great result for us because it shows we are picking momentum. We played well today, dominated the match and though Thika also gave us a tough time, we showed that we could match them and win. My boys are really coming up well and now we focus on the next match over the weekend,” Sharks head coach William Muluya said after the match.
Had they lost, then the newcomers would have had only themselves to blame as they had the lion’s share of possession and chances with Thika looking a pale shadow of their former selves, lacking in confidence both on and off the ball.
“Losing three matches in a row is never easy for the players and you could see that we didn’t have confidence. We lost a lot of second balls and our passing was also not very okay. I don’t think it is time to shout and talk to them angrily. I will just have to sit them down and counsel them. Hopefully, the results change,” Thika head coach James Nandwa noted.
Ellie Asieche had the first opportunity of the game with a well struck effort from the edge of the box which went over. On the other end, Nigerian Onwudi Chibueze also had a similar effort which missed John Oyemba’s goal by inches.
In the 17th minute, Sharks had a superb opportunity but Omondi wasted. After Duke Abuya’s shot was spilled by keeper Boniface Baraza, the rebound fell graciously on Omondi who however took too much time with the ball allowing the Thika defense to intercept.
Three minutes later, Baraza misjudged a long ball dipping into the area and Omondi was again at hand to pick out the ball, but he couldn’t take the effort first time allowing the keeper back up to block.
On the half hour mark, Ugandan Mathew Odongo took on a run on the left, cut in a cross which Baraza punched to the edge of the box, but Sven Yidah’s attempted volley skied over the bar.
A minute to half time, Omondi had another golden opportunity after breaking the offside trap to face Baraza one on one, but the Thika keeper at full stretch manage to get his finger tips on the ball, pushing it away from the attacker and his defense cleared.
Omondi however redeemed himself in the 64th minute when his low shot from inside the area beat Baraza at his near post.
Sharks had more chances especially with substitute Massoud Juma, but they could not add their tally. Thika were not threatening enough and they couldn’t trouble the league rookies with last minute panic, allowing them to comfortably see off the game.