NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – Boniface Muchiri’s 65th minute strike was enough as Tusker bounced back from last weekend’s home loss against Bandari, beating visiting Zoo Kericho 1-0 to go fifth in the Kenyan Premier League standings.
Zoo had hoped to pick maximum points on their sojourn to Nairobi to fully give them comfort off the nightmares of relegation, but they couldn’t get anything past Patrick Matasi.
Despite the loss, the Kericho based team remained 12th in the standings with 32 points, nine off the drop zone.
In the other results, Posta Rangers beat Ulinzi Stars 1-0 in Kakamega while Vihiga United and Kakamega Homeboyz played to a 1-1 draw at the Mumias Complex.
Earlier in the morning, Kariobangi Sharks were hammered 2-0 by an impressive Sony Sugar at the Camp Toyoyo Ground.
In Ruaraka, the game didn’t provide much of scoring chances but the home side should have gone to the break ahead on the balance of possession having seen much of the ball.
Zoo had the first chance of the game after four minutes, Kepha Ondati coming to the end of a sweeping team move finding the ball from distance but his rasping shot went wide with the Tusker backline caught off their lines.
In the seventh minute, Tusker’s June acquisition David Juma had a chance on target when he swung in a header from a Timothy Otieno cross but it swung straight into keeper Martin Elung’at’s arms.
The game’s fight squared down in midfield with the two sides fighting to get the possession. Tusker had an edge, but they couldn’t find a way past the stoic Zoo defense that guarded their lines well, marshaled by Sabiri Sindani.
In the 28th minute, Elung’at was forced into a brilliant save tipping over Boniface Muchiri’s swinging freekick from the edge of the box after curling it beyond the wall.
Three minutes later, David Gateri also had a chance from another set piece, but a training ground routine didn’t yield much of results as the left back swung the ball straight to the keeper’s arms.
Zoo were almost caught off a minute to halftime when Johnson Ligare’s back pass to his keeper with Muchiri intercepting it, but he could not get the ball into the back of the net despite side stepping the keeper, Sindani coming to the rescue and clearing.
In the second half, Matano started off with a change in personnel, Paul Kamau coming on for Osumba. Kamau almost made an immediate impact when he looked to have been axed inside the box but the ref waved play-on.
Tusker continued to press and on the hour mark came close with Macharia striking a sweet effort on the volley but it went straight to the keeper.
Five minutes later through, the home side broke the deadlock, Muchiri’s well struck shot from the edge of the box whistling through a forest of legs before ending into the bottom right corner with Elunga’at’s effort at keeping it out ending in futility.
Six minutes later, Otieno should have had his name on the score-sheet when he was sent through by Macharia, but his effort under pressure from SIndani was saved by Elung’at.