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KPL All Stars narrowly lose to Sevilla Atletico

KPL All Stars’ Samuel Onyango vies for the ball with Sevilla Atletico’s Christian Marcelo during a friendly match in Malaga on July 22, 2017. PHOTO/Stafford Ondego (Sportpicha)

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22- The Kenyan Premier League All-Star team wound up their tour of Spain with a slim 1-0 loss to Segunda Division side Sevilla Atletico at the El Maulí Stadium in Antequera, Málaga on Saturday night.

The All Stars exhibited an improved performance from their show in the previous friendly against another Segunda Division side Cordoba CF on Wednesday where they lost 4-0.

Christian Gonzalez scored the lone goal of the match on the quarter hour mark, but the margin would have been bigger were it not for the astute performance of Sofapaka keeper Mathias Kigonya.

The Ugandan who came in as a substitute in the Cordoba match had been drafted into the starting team replacing Boniface Oluoch in goal and he justified his start with a decent performance.

Within the first minute, Kigonya was called into his first save, when he did well to block a shot from Marc Gual. The Sevilla Atletico winger had broken into the box from a swift move from the Spanish side straight from kick off, turning away from his markers before shooting at goal.

The hosts were faster off the blocks and their short passing game was working well, opening up spaces to play the ball behind the Kenyan defense.

On the quarter hour mark, Gonzalez broke the deadlock with the easiest of goals, tapping into an empty net after Kigonya had slipped and bumped into the ball from a freekick, Gonzalez only picking up the spills and dumping the ball home.

KPL All Stars’ Vincent Oburu wheels away from Sevilla Atletico’s Bilal Bouttoba during a friendly match in Malaga on July 22, 2017. PHOTO/Stafford Ondego (Sportpicha)

Four minutes later, Kigonya did well to race off his line to prevent the All-Stars from sipping in a second. Gual had been sent through on goal with a sleek through pass from midfield, but Kigonya came all out to pluck the ball off the forward’s feet as he attempted to side step him.

The Ugandan shot stopper continued with his superb performance in goal and in the 22nd minute, he fully stretched to his left to parry away a freekick from the edge of the area curled in by skipper Curro.

The Kenyans had struggled to create anything infront of goal with Vincent Oburu who was playing as the lone man upfront in a 4-5-1 formation being isolated and frequently running into traffic when he got the ball.

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Jackson Macharia had All-Stars’ first opportunity of the game with a shot from inside the box from a Boniface Muchiri cutback but the effort bounced off one of the defenders with another clearing for a corner.

Cameroonian international keeper Fabrice Ondoa remained quiet in the Sevilla Atletico goal as the Kenyans never gave him much to work on.

In the second half, the Kenyans picked up pace but still the decision making in the final third was always wanting. They did well to win the ball in midfield and played forward, but when it came to the business end, nothing gave.

In the 62nd minute, Macharia was gifted with another opportunity on the counter with Muchiri once again cutting back the ball but the former’s shot was pale and rolled out of play without troubling Ondoa.

Towards the end, Sevilla Atletico had three chances go begging. Amo’s shot from inside the area coming off a well executed counter rolled wide while Bilal Bouttoba also had two chances inside the box slapped wide.

The team returns home on Monday with plenty of lessons as Okumbi continues to build up a team for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN).

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