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City Stars, Ushuru pick vital NSL wins

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Ushuru players celebrate the second of Billy Oporia’s goals against Nairobi Stima in a National Super League match at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on March 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24- Former Kenyan Premier League sides Ushuru FC and Nairobi City Stars stepped up their bid to return to the country’s top flight despite starting the season low with wins on Sunday in the National Super League.

Ushuru were 3-1 winners over Nairobi Stima while City Stars picked up a nervy 2-1 win over Kibera Black Stars, both games staged at the Camp Toyoyo Ground in Nairobi.

The tax collectors put up a mature performance to pick their third win of the season in eight games and head coach Ken Kenyatta hopes it will spur them to bounce back to the top.

“There’s still a long way to go but we need to keep on bagging points to get back to the top. It was a tough match today but we put up some good shift which saw us win. It has given us some motivation moving forward,” head coach Ken Kenyatta said.

Bill Oporia scored twice after Benson Amianda’s opener while Nairobi Stima scored a late consolation through former Tusker FC forward Stephen Owusu from the penalty spot.

Ushuru FC midfielder Ekaliani Ndolo vies for the ball against Nairobi Stima’s Anthony Otieno during a National Super League match at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on March 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Amianda broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when he rose highest inside the box to thump a header past the Ushuru keeper, meeting up with Fan Ngaira’s corner.

Before the goal, both teams had chances at goal, first Oporia failing to guide the ball into an empty net from a yard out after Enock Agwanda had squared the ball to him from the right in the 12th minute.

Two minutes later, Stima had a chance but Owusu could not punish an error from Ushuru defender Nelson Marasowe who lost the ball cheaply. The Nairobi Stima Ghanaian forward’s attempt to stick the ball into the bottom right corner was met with a well taken save from the Ushuru keeper.

After going ahead, Ushuru dictated the tempo of the game. Stima did well to try and disrupt the tempo, but they did not use the ball well when they had possession, often losing it cheaply in the final third.

Ushuru FC defender Fan Ngaira vies for the ball against Nairobi Stima’s Timothy Otieno during a National Super League match at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on March 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Ushuru should have doubled the lead in the 35th minute when Oporia picked up Oscar Mbugua with a well weighted pass inside the box, but the midfielder could not beat the Stima keeper one on one.

His blushes were however wiped three minutes to half time, much thanks to Stima keeper Daniel Odhiambo’s butter fingers, the shot stopper failing to hold on to a cross from Agwanda and Oporia having the simple task of nodding the ball inside an empty net.

Oporia completed his brace 13 minutes after the restart with a decent finish inside the box after picking up a Patrick Macharia miscued shot to place it calmly beyond the keeper.

Stima had a late consolation with 20 minutes left on the clock when Owusu scored from the spot after John Kang’ethe was brought down inside the box by Fredrick Kentile.

Nairobi City Stars skipper Arthur Museve challenges for the ball against a Kibera Black Stars player during a National Super League match at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on March 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In the early kick off, City Stars capitalized on a slow start to the game by Black Stars scoring two quick goals, Stephen Iganji breaking the deadlock three minutes into the game before Abdulrahman Mango doubled the tally in the 13th minute.

Black Stars pulled one back in the 25th minute through Ronald Ochieng. They should have had more goals especially in the second half when City Stars sat back to defend, but poor finishing cost them.

“We started badly gifting them two easy goals which we should never have and ended up paying for it. I think I am pleased with my team because most of them are young and playing at this stage for the first time. We will grow as we progress,” Black Stars coach Geoffrey Oduor said.

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