MACHAKOS, Kenya, Aug 5 – AFC Leopards climbed third on the Kenyan Premier League table following their 2-1 win over Mathare United on Sunday at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County.
In other results, Sofapaka climbed up to second in the standing after downing Ulinzi Stars 1-0 thanks to a Umaru Kasumba’s goal in the stoppage time.
Thika United’s poor form continued as the relegated bound side succumbed to a 3-1 loss at the hands of Sony Sugar, Nzoia Sugar was held to a goalless draw by Wazito FC while Kariobangi Sharks were stunned 2-1 by a 10-man visiting Zoo FC.
Ten-man AFC Leopards found their goals from Wyvonne Isuza and Marvin Omondi while defender James Situma scored the consolation for Mathare United in a lively encounter that saw both sides create many chances.
AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata heaped praise on his charges, revealing that they had to change their strategy after Isuza was sent off.
“My coaching philosophy is attacking and my players just did that today, but I had to change tactics when my player received a red card and my players responded well. I am so proud of my team,” Zapata said after the match.
AFC, who were the better side, dominating possession in the better part of the match, were reduced to one man down after Isuza picked a second yellow card on the 62nd minute for retaliation on Mathare’s Ahmad Ahmed.
Mathare custodian David Okello was the busiest having to come off his live severally to keep his team on the game.
As early as on the 4th minute, Okello put his body on the line, coming off his line to clear the effort before AFC’s speedy attacker Ezekiel Odera reached on the ball for a fruitless corner.
Ingwe’s attacking and quick moves finally paid of on the half hour mark when Isuza stepped up to convert a controversial penalty that saw Okello dive on the right direction to have a touch on the ball but it was too powerful to stop it from entering in.
The penalty was awarded after Situma tackled Jaffari Odenyi from behind in what looked from the live broadcast replay as a foul at the edge of the box, but the center referee Yassin Badr pointed at the spot that gifted Isuza his 11th goal of the season.
Three minutes later, Mathare squandered a glorious opportunity that could have seen level the scores when Clifford Alwanga failed to get a touch on the ball from a defence splitting pass from Ahmed.
However, lapse in concentration from the AFC back-lined cost the team, enabling Situma to make the amends by slamming the ball home on the stroke of half time and see both sides share spoils at the breather.
The goals came after Isuza hacked down Alwanga to pick his first yellow card that proved costly to the team. Mathare United captain George ‘Wise’ Owino, coming from injury took the set-piece that found Situma on the right side.
Just at they started in the first half, AFC drew the first blood in the last half, forcing Okello to come off his line to rescue Mathare after Isuza’s pass was miscued the Mathare United defence on the 56th minute.
But that matted less after Marvin Omondi tapped in an empty net after a fine build up in the midfield where Odenyi exchanged a 1-2 pass with Edward Seda who in turn put Odenyi through, before seeing his effort punched away by Okello but lady luck falled on Omondi was in the perfect position to tap in the second goal.