MACHAKOS, Kenya Feb 25- Chris Oduor’s first half wonder strike was the highlight as Mathare United remained unbeaten in the 2018 Kenyan Premier League season, picking their third win in four matches with a convincing 3-1 win over Sofapaka at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Sunday.
Oduor struck a beauty from almost 45 yards out to score Mathare’s second goal after Francis Omondi’s penalty had taken them ahead. Keeper Mathias Kigonya halved the deficit for Batoto ba Mungu late in the first half also from the penalty spot but it only counted as consolation.
Edward Seda capped off the fruitful afternoon for Mathare on the hour mark as Francis Kimanzi’s men went to 10 points.
By measure of chances, a 2-1 score-line at half time was a fair reflection of the chances each side had in the opening 45 minutes.
Mathare showed early intent with Daniel Mwaura having the game’s first chance at goal, his shot from the edge of the 18-yard area being deflected by Mousa Omar for a corner.
The slum boys, unbeaten this season had a confident start to the game with the midfield trio of Francis Omondi, Edward Seda and Oduor taking charge of the game, dictating the tempo.
Mathare were gifted for their early hunger in the 17th minute when Omondi converted from the penalty spot after Rodgers Aloro swept down Seda inside the box as he attempted to break forward from a Clifford Alwanga nod-down.
The goal injected some piece of confidence into the Mathare side who didn’t look even a tad of their relegation-fighting self from last season.
Twelve minutes after going one up Mathare doubled their advantage, and in sublime fashion.
Oduor took an audacious effort striking the ball into the net from close to the halfway line after keeper Kigonya’s half hearted clearance from out of his box fell kindly on the Mathare United midfielder’s path.
Sensing that the game was dragging out of their reach, Sofapaka upped their tempo and began to play more purposeful.
They should have halved the deficit in the 37th minute when Umaru Kassumba was sighted with a brilliant dipping ball played behind the defense by Omar, but he couldn’t direct his header on target with no defender on his shoulders.
Four minutes on the turn, the 2009 champions claimed one back from the penalty spot, keeper Kigonya stepping forward to beat his opposite number after Johnstone Omurwa handled the ball as he attempted to control.
However, the Mathare players protested the decision, arguing that the young centre half was outside the box, but referee Peter Waweru stood by his decision.
Sensing that the score-line was within reach, Sofapaka head coach Sam Ssimbwa started the second half with an offensive change, taking off Ezekiel Okare for Kepha Aswani.
But, it was Mathare who still had the appetite for goals. Three minutes after the restart, Cliff Nyakeya had a shot from the edge of the box come off the upright while his chase for the rebound ended up in a Kigonya save.
But on the hour mark, Mathare made it 3-1, Seda taking in a wonderful goal from close range. The midfielder took a nifty touch off a Mwaura pass taking the ball off Alori’s path and with only Kigonya to beat smashed the ball into the bottom right.
Ssimbwa reacted to the goal with a double change, bringing off midfielder Humphrey Okoti for Mohammed Kilume while Waruru was brought off for Kevin Kimani.
Kimani faving the side he played for most of his early career had an immediate impact and he had two efforts at goal within 10 minutes of coming on.
First his volley from the right came off the side netting while his second attempt was with a shot from distance which sailed wide.
Sofapaka who had thrown bodies up in attack were almost caught on the counter in the 76th minute but thanks to Kigonya’s double save from Nyakeya’s efforts on the right,, they remained within balance.
On the other end, Robert Mboya was busy in the Mathare goal and he had to be at his best to keep out Kimani’s freekick and a low curling effort from Elli Asieche late on.