MACHAKOS, KENYA, Jul 8- Defender Salim ‘Shittu’ Abdallah scored the lone goal in the 52nd minute as AFC Leopards bounced back to winning ways beating Sony Sugar 1-0 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos to move fourth in the Kenyan Premier League standings.
AFC came into the tie on the backdrop of a draw and a loss in their last two games, but an assured performance against an equally well organized Sony side saw them pick three points at home to move up the ladder.
A hugely contested first half provided the entertainment with pace and passing, but the chances infront of goal weren’t as forthcoming.
Brian Marita had the game’s first chance in the third minute when a clearance from keeper John Waw fell on his path, but his eventual snap shot from distance was turned behind for a corner by the keeper.
AFC had started with pace, using their speed on the wings with both Marita and Jaffery Owiti, but they could not get the key pass to open up for scoring opportunities.
Sony’s first chance of the game came in the 26th minute when a defensive error saw the ball fall on Sony midfielder Tobias Otieno, but the latter’s shot from the edge of the area went inches over the bar.
When the momentum swung the other way immediately, AFC came inches close but Chemelil keeper Wawu made a great save to pick the ball off the line after Ezekiel Odera did well to bring down Owiti’s cross before squaring to Whyvonne Isuza whose effort at the back post was saved.
The second half’s pace picked up with AFC making an attacking change, new signing Alex Orotomal coming on for Marvin Omondi as head coach Rodolfo Zapata went for a two-man attack.
The lanky Nigerian signed from Rwandese side Sunshine FC brought in some punch in attack with his running and ball retention. His activity at the edge of the box attracted a foul on him, but the resultant effort from Isaac Oduro went inches wide.
The pressure bore fruit in the 52nd minute when Salim Abdallah broke the deadlock with a dipping header from Marita’s cross, keeper John Waw caught flat out.
Ingwe survived a scare just 10 minutes later when a poorly defended long throw from Enock Agwanda fell on substitute Ambrose Ayoyi, but his shot from close range was saved by keeper Ezekiel Owade.
But the home side kept the pressure attacking with intent and they had two more chances, first Owiti’s shot from range going just wide while minutes later, Odera missing the vital touch to direct the ball into the net from Orotomal’s cross.
Five minutes from time, Oduro came close with a freekick from range which rattled the crossbar while two minutes later, Orotamal’s shot from the right was finger-tipped behind for a corner.