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Chetambe rescues survival point for Zoo

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Zoo Kericho midfielder Danson Chetambe vies for the ball with Tusker FC’s Boniface Muchiri during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Ruaraka Complex in Nairobi on May 23, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – Danson Chetambe curled in a brilliant freekick three minutes from time to hand Zoo Kericho a massive point in the race to survive Kenyan Premier League relegation, scoring the equalizer in their 2-2 draw with Tusker FC at the Ruaraka Complex on Thursday.

Boniface Muchiri had given Tusker the lead with another beauty of a freekick at a rain drenched Ruaraka before Chetambe replied with a beauty of his own.

Tusker had broken the deadlock through David Majak before David Odhiambo equalized for Zoo.

The result takes Zoo to within two points of 15th placed Chemelil Sugar with two rounds of matches to go and they will now look to win both games and hope Chemelil drop points in one of their two.

The home side broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when Majak picked the ball inside the box after Faraj Ominde had flicked him through before slamming the ball oast the keeper.

Before that, the Brewers had some half chances, first Hillary Wandera’s volley from the edge of the box going wide before Boniface Muchiri shot straight at the keeper from range.

In the 36th minute Tusker had a chance when Majak out Jackson Macharia through but the latter’s shot was turned behind for a corner by the keeper.

Zoo drew level just two minutes later when Kevin Omondi curled the ball to the top left corner after being out through on goal by Ernest Kipkoech.

Almost immediately, Zoo had another glorious opportunity that should have ended in the back of the net when Kiokoech’s point blank cross fell on Derrick Amani whose point blank shot attracted a brilliant one on one save from Robert Mboya.

Zoo Kericho midfielder Geoffrey Gichana clears the ball under pressure from Tusker FC’s Jackson Macharia during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Ruaraka Complex in Nairobi on May 23, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In a quick turn around with the heavens opening up, Tusker came inches close to restoring their lead off a counter but Wafula’s point blank effort was saved by keeper Martin Elung’at.

The pouring rain made the pitch heavy and the pace if the game hugely died down.

At the start of the second half. Robert Matano made changes to his midfield, Peter Nzuki and Jackson Macharia coming off for David Naftali and Timothy Otieno.

With the slippery nature of the pitch, it was difficult to play the ball on the ground and both teams resorted to playing in high balls and dumping them into the opponent’s box.

Off one of these moves, Zoo had a chance after 72 minutes when keeper Mboya made a brilliant double save to deny Chetambe. The midfielder picked up the ball at the edge of the six yard box, shot at goal and his effort was blocked.

He picked up the ball on the second bite of the cherry and saw that effort blocked as well.

Omondi was using his height and ball control superbly, his hold up play when Zoo were on the offensive being on point. However, they could not finish the job in the final third.

The brewers them took the lead with 13 minutes left when Muchiri stood over a freekick from 30 yards out before curling it beyond the wall and past keeper Elung’at.

Despite going down, Zoo showed some fighting spirit as they continued knocking on the Tusker door. Three minutes to go, they won a freekick from range and Chetambe stood over it, sending it to the top right corner of Mboya’s goal.

There would have been late drama in the game when Omondi had a chance off another looped ball, but his shot was blocked by Eugene Asike.

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