NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – Substitute Shadrack Otieno scored the winning goal as Kisumu All Stars beat Vihiga United 2-1 at the Mumias Complex on Saturday afternoon in the relegation/promotion play-off, to go halfway through in ensuring they remain in the Kenyan Premier League.
All Stars had gone ahead through Willis Otienda’s penalty in the fifth minute before All Stars came back with some fight in the second half to equalize through Dennis Wafula in the 76th minute.
But the hope of a comeback only lasted four minutes as Otieno slotted in the winner to give All Stars an advantage heading into next Tuesday’s return leg at the Moi Stadium.
The visitors had to finish the game with 10 men after skipper Bobby Kwaka was sent off with three minutes left for a second bookable offense.
All Stars will only need to avoid defeat to ensure they remain in the top tier, while Vihiga will need to win by a margin of more than two goals to seal their return to the KPL.
All Stars went ahead in the fifth minute when Otenda stepped to convert from the spot after Eric Otieno was fouled inside the box.
Despite going down, Vihiga gave a fight to come back into the game with Tyrone Owino and Michael Odongo having shots on target, both of which were dealt with by the keeper.
At the stroke of halftime, Vihiga made a change, Owino coming off for would-be goalscorer Wafula.
The substitute brought in the much needed pressure upfront and in the 67th minute, he was fouled in a good goalscoring position, but the Kisumu All Stars keeper made a great save to deny Alex Imbusia from the resultant freekick.
The home side kept pushing for an equalizer and their efforts were rewarded in the 76th minute when Wafula headed home from close range.
But, they could not hold on as All Stars ensured they remained in the lead heading into the return tie when Otieno, barely minutes into the pitch rifled a shot that left Vihiga keeper Joel Bataro dazed.