MACHAKOS, Kenya, May 10- Daniel Waweru’s second half goal sent Ulinzi Stars to third in the Kenyan Premier League table after beating 2009 champions Sofapaka 1-0 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday evening.
At the Muhoroni Complex, leaders Posta Rangers needed a late Gaerson Likonoh goal to hand them a point against Muhoroni Youth, who had gone ahead in the first half via Maxwell Onyango who only became the third person to breach the Posta defense this season.
At the Kericho Green Stadium, hosts Zoo were brought back to earth after suffering a 2-0 loss at the hands of reigning champions Tusker FC who picked up a fourth consecutive win, continuing their resurgence.
Humphrey Mieno scored his second goal in as many matches, adding on to George Mandela’s opener as the holders rose to fourth on the log with 18 points, same as third placed Ulinzi but with an inferior goal difference.
Ulinzi, the league’s highest scoring team picked up a second win on the trot but had to do with much defending especially in the final hour of the game when Sofapaka knocked on their doors vehemently. However, they managed to hold their feet together for the three vital points.
“It was a very tough match but I am happy with the performance today. It was tough especially coming off another hard game over the weekend, but we have managed to add on our points tally which gives us so much confidence,” Ulinzi head coach Benjamin Nyangweso told Capital Sport after the match.
His opposite number Sam Ssimbwa was left fuming once again at the referee, accusing him of open bias.
“We were denied a very clear penalty in the second half, someone tripping a player inside the box from behind. Any day that’s a penalty and a red card. I am disappointed that we have lost two games in a row but we will fight to return to winning ways over the weekend,” Ssimbwa said after the game.
Sofapaka started proceedings positively, mounting early pressure on the visitors. They had a seventh minute chance after Ulinzi keeper Jacktone Odhiambo handled the ball outside the box but Mathias Kigonya could not get the ball inside the net from a good position.
Ulinzi’s first effort at goal was in the 14th minute when Baron Oketch shot just wide after picking the ball on the left before setting himself up with a right footed shot.
Sofapaka had dominated possession, but they could not find anything to breach the Ulinzi defense which dealt effectively with all the attempted cross balls.
On the half hour mark, Ugandan James Kasibante had s uperb opportunity to break the deadlock but unmarked and under zero pressure, headed a Charles Okwemba corner wide.
Three minutes to the break, Ulinzi and league top scorer Stephen Waruru came inches close, but his lob goalward with keeper Kigonya off his line missed the target by a whisker.
In the second half, Ulinzi started brighter and they needed just 14 minutes to break the deadlock. A mistake at the back saw substitute Evans Amwoka steal the ball off Maurice Odipo and the Ulinzi forward put Waweru through, the midfielder putting in a simple finish past Kigonya.
Immediately after conceding, Sofapaka stepped on the gas pedals and Ugandan Wanok Pate found space on the left, but his shot could only goa against the side netting. Ezekiel Okare and Charles Okwemba also had shots fly just wide.
The hosts continued to pile pressure, playing in long balls to try and make the most of an Ulinzi backline that had began to crack.
However, Sofapaka were not efficient with the final ball even when they beat Ulinzi to the second balls time and again.