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KCB beat Talanta to earn return to KPL

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Dennis Gicheru leads celebrations afte scoring for KCB in their National Super League match against Talanta as they earned a return to the KPL on October 7, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Oloblu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – Dennis Gicheru and Simon Abuko scored in the final 10 minutes as KCB FC beat a stubborn FC Talanta 2-0 at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on Sunday to earn promotion back to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) after three years.

Gicheru poked home at the back post from a Dennis Ng’ang’a freekick with nine minutes left before Simon Abuko slotted home from the penalty spot in added time to finally break a stubborn FC Talanta as they earned an unassailable lead in second position.

The three points will ensure KCB’s final match against Nairobi Stima next weekend will be a mere formality.

The bankers moved to 75 points in the National Super League (NSL) standings, eight ahead of third placed Nairobi Stima who will be playing Kenya Police in the other NSL match later Sunday.

“I am really pleased to have scored today in such an important match to help the team get back to the league. It was a tough match but we knew when we get one goal, things will be easy. I can’t really explain how it feels because we have fought for this so much,” goal scorer Gicheru said.

KCB FC defender Dennis Gicheru celebrates after scoring for KCB during their National Super League tie against FC Talanta at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on October 7, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Amazingly, Gicheru scored one of the four goals for Wazito FC last year when they beat Kenya Police 4-1 in Narok to earn promotion to the KPL which now means he has scored in both crucial matches and earned promotion with two different teams in consecutive years.

Head coach Elvis Ayany, a former player of the bankers was in cloud nine after sealing the slot.

“It has been a tough season and every game has been like a final. Over the last three years we have come very close but lost it in the final four games. This time round, we were very serious in every game and we did not underrate anyone,” Ayany pointed out.

After being frustrated by a high defending Talanta, coached by former KCB boss Abdallah Juma, the bankers upped the tempo in the second half.

On the hour mark, they came inches close when Samuel Mwangi’s venomous strike from distance was finger tipped over the bar by Talanta keeper Joel Bataro.

KCB FC midfielder Samuel Mwangi strides forward during his side’s National Super League tie against FC Talanta at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on October 7, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Mwangi had come in after 35 minutes replacing Shami Kibwana who had found it tough to maintain the tempo with the scorching mid-morning sun and the blazing Toyoyo turf taking a toll on him.

KCB were almost punished in the 70th minute when a defensive blunder by Isaac Okello gifted Emmanuel Mogaka the ball at the edge of the area, but the Talanta man’s shot from range was well collected by KCB keeper Omar Adisa.

The bankers had a glorious opportunity with quarter of an hour left when an industrious Chrispinus Onyango did well on the left to lay in a cross that was met by Kennedy Owino, but the latter’s shot with acres of space ahead of him came against the side-netting.

KCB FC striker Chrispinus Onyango was brought down leading to the opening goal during his side’s National Super League tie against FC Talanta at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on October 7, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The search finally yielded fruit with nine minutes left when Gicheru poked the ball home at the backpost when Ng’ang’a’s in-swinging freekick evaded a forest of bodies.

Former AFC Leopards winger Simon Abuko then sealed the win in added time when he slotted home from the penalty spot after Mwangi was brought down inside the box by Brian Okeyo.

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