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Tough Sofapaka breaks Sharks unbeaten run

Sofapaka striker Cliff Kasuti celebrates his goal against Kariobangi Sharks

MACHAKOS, Kenya, Feb 3 – Cliff Kasuti’s first half goal and Umaru Kassumba’s tap in added time were enough to see Sofapaka earn revenge over Kariobangi Sharks, beating the recently crowned SportPesa Cup champions 2-0 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos to break their Kenyan Premier League unbeaten run.

Sharks beat Sofapaka 3-2 to clinch last year’s Football Kenya Federation Shield, and Sofapaka earned their revenge cold in a tense tie that saw head coach John Baraza pick his third win in four games since taking charge of the side.

It had been a week of unbeaten runs tumbling down and it started off in midweek with Bandari’s run brought to a screeching halt in a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Kakamega Homeboyz while on Saturday, leaders Mathare United were stunned with a 2-1 loss at the hands of bottom side Mount Kenya.

Sharks who were held to a 0-0 draw by Mathare in midweek at Kasarani were next on line to ensure that no side finishes this season invincible.

Kariobangi Sharks defender Geoffrey Shiveka attempts to clear the ball under pressure from Sofapaka forward John Avire during their Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on February 3, 2019. PHOTO/Sofapaka

The Kariobangi Sharks players spent not more than five minutes in the dressing room, head coach William Muluya clearly enraged by the performance he had seen from his cup winning team in the first 45 minutes of the game.

Sharks were completely outfoxed by Batoto ba Mungu in the opening half and the 2009 champions should have actually led by more than a goal had they been more clinical with their chances, most of which were contributed by John Oyemba’s 45 minutes to forget.

Muluya had made four changes to his squad, skipper Patillah Omotto, strikers Duke Abuya and George abege all missing out with injuries/

Sidney Lokale, James Mazembe and Henry Juma were given the chance to audition for permanent places, but they could not rise to the occasion.

Sofapaka were a side beaming with confidence especially after Baraza’s take-over.

Kariobangi Sharks midfielder Vincent Wasambo weaves away from Sofapaka midfielders Elli Asieche and Mohammed Kilume during their Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on February 3, 2019. PHOTO/Sofapaka

However, their pre-match plan was thrown into the bin just six minutes into the game when skipper Dennis Odhiambo had to hobble off injured after coming off worst from a clash with Mazembe and he was replaced by Elli Asieche.

However, that did not stop them from their determination to bring all three home. In the eighth minute, John Avire was teed up off a freekick by Titus Achesa but his well taken low shot from distance whistled just wide off target.

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In the 19th minute, Asieche’s freekick from the left fell on Kasuti inside the box but the winger could not muster a strong shot off his weaker left foot, the ball flying straight to Oyemba’s arms.

Three minutes later, Achesa tried his luck with a curling freekick from the edge of the box, but Oyemba parried it away for a corner.

The shot stopper had a shaky day and an effort that he should have easily collected evaded his grasp. He played part in Sofapaka’s opener when he failed to hold on to a corner from Asieche, dropping the ball at Kasuti’s feet who poked it home from a yard out.

Kariobangi Sharks midfielder Vincent Wasambo wheels away from Sofapaka defender Titus Achesa during their Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on February 3, 2019. PHOTO/Sofapaka

Batoto ba Mungu continued their dominance and two minutes to the break, another of Oyemba’s butterfly moments almost saw the visitors g two up.

Mohammed Kilume’s well weighted ball from deep in his own half fell on Kassumba and when it seemed Oyemba had it all covered, he let it skip over him and even when he recovered to pick it, he fumbled and dropped the ball off for a corner.

He was lucky that from the resultant corner, Faina Jacobs headed over.

In added time, Sharks had a chance off a swiftly executed counter in added time when Mazembe sent Lokale through on goal, but the lanky forward took too much time allowing Faina to race back and make a brilliant tackle to deny him the chance.

Sharks came back a stronger side in the second half and came close three minutes after the restart, but Lokale could not shoot the ball inside the net with keeper Justin Ndikumana down after parrying Henry Juma’s cross to the striker’s path.

Kariobangi Sharks midfielder Henry Juma vies for the ball with Sofapaka midfielder Mohammed Kilume during their Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on February 3, 2019. PHOTO/Sofapaka

Sharks continued piling pressure on Sofapaka with Muluya throwing in more youngsters, Shaphan Oyugi coming off for Finlay Osoro while Mazembe was hauled off for Eric Kapaito.

Quarter of an hour before full time, Sharks came close but Burundian defender Moussa Omar made a brilliant block, throwing himself on the way as Kapaito pulled the trigger at the backpost from some nervous defending.

While Sharks pushed for an equalizer, they were stabbed right in the belly off a counter, substitute Soter Kayumba sending Ibrahim Kajjuba through who in turn laid in a low cross from the left that Kassumba easily tapped home.

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