MACHAKOS, Kenya, May 22 – Chemelil Sugar moved a step closer to assuring themselves of another season in top flight football after holding Sofapaka to a goalless draw at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday afternoon.
The Sugar belt are just a place above the bottom three relegation spots and the point gained on the road against a Batoto ba Mungu side that beat them 3-0 in the first leg in Awasi places them on 31 points, three ahead of 16th placed Zoo Kericho and six ahead of Vihiga United who occupy 17th spot.
For Sofapaka, their ambition of finishing at second spot in the Kenyan Premier League standings were dashed as the point gained against Chemelil moves them to 58, four behind second placed Bandari.
Batoto ba Mungu had the chances to score, but they couldn’t get anything behind the net not because their finishing was poor, but because Chemelil keeper Moragn Alube earned his full pay with brilliant saves.
Coming into the tie, Chemelil knew avoiding defeat was the key to their hopes for survival, being only five points away from the automatic relegation slots.
They knocked Sofapaka’s door early with Tindi Biko’s ferocious freekick from long range attracticng a fine finger-tip save from Justin Ndikumana.
Sofapaka’s first effort at goal came in the 21st minute when Umaru Kasumba ran off his markers on the right before slicing a low cross that was met by John Avire who set up Kepha Aswani with a fancy back heel. However, Aswani’s shot was well saved by the keeper.
Aswani had another chance two minutes to the break when he was set up by Titus Achesa but his goal bound effort was deflected for a corner.
Chemelil went on the defensive in the second half, playing behind the ball and attacking on the counter as they sought to jealously guard the single point they still had.
Five minutes after the break though, Aswani had another sniff at goal this time his shot taking a deflection that sucked the sting off it ending up in an easy catch for the keeper.
In the 65th minute, the veteran striker was teed up beautifully once again by Avire, but his ferocious effort was turned behind for a corner by a full stretched Alube.
Alube continued to keep his team in the game and pulled off two brilliant saves at the death, first turning behind Stephen Waruru’s freekick for a corner before blocking Kasumba’s header at point blank off Achesa’s cross.