KISUMU, Kenya, Jan 2 – Sofapaka picked their third consecutive Kenyan Premier League 2018/2019 season draw after playing to a 1-1 stalemate with unbeaten Western Stima at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Thursday.
In Nakuru, AFC Leopards finally picked up their first three points of the season with a 2-0 win over Posta Rangers who were under new coach John Kamau.
Robinson Kamura scored a first half brace for Ingwe who moved their tally for the season to six points after picking three draws and a loss in their opening four games of the campaign.
Meanwhile, Mathare United remained top of the standings with a 2-1 victory over winless Kenya Commercial Bank at the Kasarani Stadium.
Cliff Nyakeya scored from the spot for his fourth goal of the season early in the first half before Clifford Alwanga doubled the tally for the slum boys five minutes to the break. Chris Onyango scored from the spot in the 92nd minute for KCB’s consolation.
Nzoia Sugar and Tusker FC meanwhile also picked up identical 2-0 wins over Ulinzi Stars and Vihiga United respectively. Henry Ochieng scored twice for Nzoia against the soldiers while Sidney Ochieng grabbed a brace for Tusker at Ruaraka taking his season tally to three.
In Awendo, Sony Sugar beat Kakamega Homeboyz 2-1 while Bandari and Zoo Kericho played to a barren stalemate in Kericho.
Earlier, Mount Kenya United picked their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw at home against Kariobangi Sharks.
At the Moi Stadium in Kisumu, captain of the day Elli Asieche scored the equalizer for Batoto ba Mungu to earn them a point against hosts Stima who had gone ahead via a Vincent Odongo goal.
Coming off the backdrop of identical 2-2 draws, Sofapaka knew they needed to pick a win if their title credentials were to be taken seriously.
After a slow start occasioned by the sweltering heat in Kisumu, Sofapaka showed signs of hunger and in the 12th minute, Asieche tried his luck with a shot from range which flew straight to keeper Samuel Odhiambo’s arms.
In the 26th minute, Luke Ochieng pulled a brilliant tackle to sweep the ball off Umaru Kassumba’s feet as the Ugandan raced to a through ball from Mike Oduor.
Stima should have gone ahead on the half hour mark when the Sofapaka backline was caught napping and Johanna Mwita sneaked behind them, but keeper Richard Aimo bailed out his defenders with a brilliant save with his foot.
Three minutes later, Aimo had to make another great save to deny Odongo after Mwita’s cross had landed on his path isolated on the left.
Coming back into the second half, Sofapaka were stunned because of lack of concentration, a quick throw-in catching the defense line in sixes and sevens and Odongo saw space with keeper Aimo out and swung the ball into the far left corner.
Sofapaka though gave a response on the hour mark when Asieche swung the ball in from the edge of the six yard box after the Stima defense had failed to clear an Oduor cross.
But Stima were already high in confidence and the introduction of Baron Oketch in attack had added some pace into the game. The former Ulinzi Stars and Gor Mahia man came close in the 66th minute when he left his marker for dead on the right but his shot was punched away by Aimo.
Quarter of an hour to the end, John Avire who had been shushed by the Stima defense found a way through into the box sent in by another great Oduor ball, but his shot didn’t have enough power behind it, Stima keeper Odhiambo picking it easily.
Ten minutes to the break, the hard working Oduor was unlucky to be denied by the bar when he cut in from the right to shoot with his weaker left foot.
Despite increased pressure, Sofapaka could not change the color of the game with head coach Melis Medo growing extremely frustrated on the touchline.
Sofapaka have now drawn three of their five games, winning one and losing the other.