NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15- Robert Matano began his reign as the AFC Leopards head coach with a bang, guiding them to a 1-0 win over Bandari at the Mbaraki Complex in Mombasa, breaking an eight-match winless run in the Kenyan Premier League.
Matano only took charge of the team on Monday this week and he showed his winning grit by getting the unit together to finally pick up a win and improve their positioning by a spot to 11th. Youngster Marcelus Ingotsi hit the all important goal in the 91st minute.
Elsewhere, Ulinzi Stars moved top of the log after a 2-1 win over Nakumatt at the Ruaraka Complex. The other four matches, Sofapaka v Thika United, Kariobangi Sharks v Kakamega Homeboyz and Mathare United v Sony Sugar ended in identical 0-0 results.
In Mombasa, AFC Leopards went into the match under pressure to get results and had a dig of confidence courtesy of their last result, a 2-0 win over National Super League side Nairobi Stima in the GOtv Shield.
The game was tough, with Bandari equally proving their worth having picked massive results over Tusker FC and Gor Mahia in the league and cup respectively. It seemed to be a match destined for a share in spoils until Ingotsi popped up with the winner in additional time.
In Nairobi, Omar Mbongi scored the winner in the 88th minute as Ulinzi Stars returned to winning ways with a 2-1 result over Nakumatt, the result hauling them to the top of the standings.
Substitute Joshua Oyoo had cancelled out Samuel Onyango’s opener with barely his first touch of the ball, but Mbongi ensured the military side got the much needed three points.
There wasn’t much of goal scoring chances in the first half with Onyango and KPL top scorer Stephen Waruru both having half chances that didn’t materialize. Nakumatt’s closest chance was a Robert Omunuk freekick from the left which sailed wide.
The game opened up in the second half with Ulinzi starting off with pace. They got the opener barely three minutes into the half, but much thanks to a howler from Nakumatt keeper Sammy Okinda.
The former KCB and Gor Mahia shot stopper spilled the ball from a Daniel Waweru cross and Onyango who was lurking in the vicinity pounced and tapped it into the net.
Nakumatt upped the ante in search of an equalizer after being roused from their sleep by the soldiers. In the 58th minute, Boniface Akenga broke away from Mbongi on the left and cut into the box, but Mohammed Hassan pulled a superb tackle to block his shot.
Akenga paved way for Oyoo and just two minutes into the pitch, the forward drew his side level when he picked up a long ball dumped behind the Ulinzi defense, beat Jacktone Odhiambo with his first touch and buried the ball home with his second.
Ten minutes later, Nakumatt almost got the second after a gift of possession from Geoffrey Kokoyo but Kepha Aswani shot straight to Ulinzi keeper Odhiambo who picked up with ease.
Needing a win to keep his title hopes intact, Nyangweso made his first change bringing on Enosh Ochieng for goal scorer Onyango. Ulinzi increased the momentum upfront and they got the winner with two minutes of regular time left.
Mbongi rose in to send a header straight into the roof of the net from a Waweru corner. Ulinzi had gotten the corner after keeper Okinda had produced a brilliant save to parry away a freekick from Waruru.
In the late kick off, Mathare United’s relegation woes continued as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Sony Sugar. The Slum Boys had to finish the match with 10 men after keeper Levis Opiyo was red carded for a tackle on Yema Mwana outside the area.
“As a goalkeeper I think he was left with no option at that time. There was really nothing better to do than that,” Kimanzi told Capital Sport after the match.
Mwana had broken away on the counter after racing away from George ‘Wise’ Owino but after side stepping Opiyo, the custodian stretched his feet to clamp him down.
It was a dull affair with not so much action infront of goal. Sony’s Laban Gambareko had perhaps the best chance of the game five minutes in when a miscommunication between Owino and Opiyo gifted him the ball, but he took too much time and his shot was blocked by a recovering Owino.
In the eighth minute, Daniel Mwaura had a good chance for Mathare after cutting in from the right, but his shot was weak and Kevin Omondi had an easy pick in the Sony goal.