NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15- A tale of two penalties saw 10-man Sony Sugar fight from a goal down to draw 1-1 with 2009 champions Sofapaka at the Ruaraka Complex on Sunday evening, handing John Baraza a stuttering start as Batoto ba Mungu head coach.
Sofapaka scored in the first half via a Mathias Kigonya penalty and the sugar-belt side responded in the second half via David Simiyu, also from the penalty spot. Sony were reduced to 10 men early in the second half after Samuel Olare was sent off for elbowing an opponent.
Batoto ba Mungu broke the deadlock on the half hour mark when Sony Sugar shot stopper Kevin Omondi bungled down Kepha Aswani from the back as the two of them went high to meet a cross from Brian Dayo.
Just like he has done on three previous occasions already this season, goalkeeper Kigonya stepped forward to score the resultant spot kick.
Sofapaka had duly gone ahead after dictating much of the tempo in the game, earning possession and passing the ball around the park well. Kigonya had seen less action on his end as Sony ended the opening half without a single shot on target.
Baraza’s charges had their first effort at goal in the eighth minute when Dayo took a shot from distance after his side had built up play patiently, but the ball went over.
Aswani had a great chance after 20 minutes when Willis Ouma’s cross from the right landed on his head inside the box, but the effort went over.
After going ahead, Sony tried to surge in pressure to get back on level terms, but Sofapaka still had the chances. With 10 minutes remaining till halftime, Kevin Kimani saw his spectacular effort with a half volley from inside the box well collected by the keeper.
On the other end, the pair of Yema Mwana and George Abege tried but in vain to get an effort on target.
Sofapaka started the second half with the same tempo they had in the first and barely a minute in, Dayo came close with a shot from Kimani’s cut back but it was deflected for a corner.
The hosts were handed a massive advantage eight minutes into the second half when Samuel Olare was shown a straight red card after elbowing Mousa Omar jostling for space in the wall.
With the one man advantage, Sofapaka piled pressure on the visitors and they came close with Kimani’s shot from a Dayo pass brushing off a Sony leg for a corner while on the hour mark, Stephen Waruru’s left foot volley was saved by keeper Omondi.
The sugar millers had a brilliant chance to gather a point especially with a man down when the ball fell graciously on David Simiyu’s path one on one with keeper Kigonya, but he took a rushed decision for a shot that went wide.
They were almost punished seven minutes later but Kimani’s effort after a quick change of passes with Dayo inside the box went wide.
Simiyu however made amends for his miss earlier on scoring from the penalty spot with 14 minutes left on the clock after a defensive mix up in the Sofapaka box ended up in Humphrey Okoti handling the ball.