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Ingwe held by Zoo, miss out on second spot

AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata reacts during a past match. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27- AFC Leopards missed out on the opportunity of moving to second spot in the Kenyan Premier League table after being held to a barren draw by hosts Zoo Kericho on Wednesday afternoon.

The home side were wasteful having had the biggest chances of the game, all going to waste on an afternoon that AFC seemed to have fizzled off their element that had seen them win four matches back to back in all competitions.

Ingwe had to finish off the final few seconds of the game with 10 men, Marvin Omondi being sent off in added time after an off the ball incident.

Zoo benefited from the point at home, the result pushing them two places up in the standings to 13th and easing their relegation fears.

By half time, Zoo should have been at least two goals Up on the balance of chances they created. In the 17th minute, Dominic Kiprono had a golden chance when Mike Madoya beat Keeper Ezekiel Owade from the left and passed straight down to Bernard Odhiambo who teed up Kiprono.

However, the midfielder who was starting ahead of Nicholas Kipkurui saw his pale effort cleared off the line by Moses Mburu.

In the 24th minute, Madoya was played through by Bernard Odhiambo but the pint-sized midfielder’s shot from the right went wide when he had time and space to control and put in a more dangerous shot.

Zoo Kericho’s Nicholas Kipkirui shielding AFC Leopards’ Duncan Otieno when the two sides clashed in the first leg in Machakos.Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

On the half hour mark, Zoo had another chance on an afternoon where they were slicing the Ingwe defense down for fun. Stanislas Akiya broke off on the right before cutting back a cross, but Dennis Chetambe tapped the ball wide.

Three minutes to the break, the home side had yet another glorious opportunity when Odhiambo floated in an inviting cross from the right, but Madoya’s weak connection with a header at the back post brushed off Salim Abdallah for a corner.

In the early exchanges though Leopards had some chances to score, first Robinson Kamura’s freekick going straight to the Zoo keeper in the sixth minute while in the 13th minute Brian Marita’s header off a Kamura freekick was well saved by the keeper.

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At the start of the second half, Ingwe coach Zapata made changes pulling out Victor Majid for top scorer Whyvonne Isuza in a bid to bolster the attack that had been kept at bay all game.

In the second half, Ingwe coach Zapata started off with a change in personnel, Victor Majid paving way for top scorer Whyvonne Isuza in midfield.

But still, it was the home side who continued to create the better chances in front of goal and just three minutes in, keeper Owade pulled off a brilliant save to keep AFC in the game, leaping high to tip over a ferocious shot from distance by Chetambe.

Zoo Kericho head coach Sammy Okoth. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

In the 54th minute, Kiprono should have done better after breaking the offside trap on the right, but his final decision to go at goal himself instead of cutting back for his teammates better placed was futile as he hit the side netting.

Ten minutes later, AFC were forced into another goalline clearance, this time Salim Abdallah rising to head away a freekick from Isaac Kipyegon which had curled beyond Owade.

In the 66th minute, Madoya made an attempt to atone for his earlier misses with a shot from distance which was spilled by Owade into the feet of Odhiambo, the striker tapping the rebound wide unmarked. However, the linesman’s flag was up for offside sparing him the blushes.

With quarter of an hour left, Zapata went all out offensive, pulling out right back Dennis Sikhayi for new signing Eugene Mukangula.

AFC had two late chances with Marita and Mukangula’s shots both being saved by the keeper.

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