NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23- Ugandan forward Umar Kassumba struck a first half brace as 2009 Kenyan Premier league champions Sofapaka cemented their hold of second spot on the table with a 3-1 win over Nzoia Sugar at the Kasarani Stadium on Wednesday.
Kassumba opened the scoring with a third minute header before Luke Namanda equalized for the visitors in the 21st minute, but Batoto ba Mungu restored their lead through Ezekiel Okare as Kassumba added the second at the stroke of half time.
The win sees Sofapaka move to 37 points, three behind leaders Gor Mahia who face Posta Rangers at the same venue in the late kick off.
Batoto ba Mungu were off to a flier and in the third minute, they made their intentions known with Kassumba rising unmarked to head in a corner at the edge of the six yard box.
Nzoia were startled as they were yet to settle into the game and their poor defensive positions man-marking inside the box saw them go one behind.
But the Bungoma-based side gave in a fight to get back into the game and had a Masita Masuta goal disallowed for offside after the burly striker tapped home from a Namanda cross.
But the visitors would be away celebrating their equalizer in the 21st minute when Sofapaka custodian Mathias Kigonya failed to hold on to a ferocious Namanda shot from the right, the sugar millers having picked up a throwing fast with Edwin Wafula finding the goal scorer.
Bernard Mwalala’s men had finally found their feet and were tearing Sofapaka apart from the counter. However, their main undoing was the lack of precision when it came to the business end of their movement.
Their crosses more often than not went overboard while the final key passes into goal scoring zones were wanting.
They were punished in the 37th minute, again thanks to poor defending. Okare hit the ball between the Nzoia keeper’s legs from a tight angle on the right after easily breaking into the box.
At the stroke of half time, Kassumba completed his brace with a well taken low shot from the right, finishing off a swift move off a counter attack. Sofapaka had themselves escaped from the counter, Namanda making a poor decision to cut the ball back with only one man to beat and duly punished.
At the start of the second half, Mwalala made changes, Hillary Wandera coming off for Festus Okiring while Benjamin Muchuma was introduced for Brian Yakhama.
The visitors were off to a strong start. Masuta had a golden chance just two minutes into the half when he was sent through by Namanda, but he went down too easily after skipping past keeper Kigonya. His antics of trying to get a cheap penalty were punished with a yellow card.