NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – First half goals from Lawrence Juma and Kepha Aswani handed Sofapaka a crucial 2-0 victory over a struggling Zoo Kericho in a Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League match at the Kasarani Annex on Wednesday.
The victory eases pressure for Sofapaka who however remained 10th in the standings while Zoo’s hunt for a first win of the season continued as they suffered a sixth loss of the season to remain rooted at the bottom of the standings.
Against a feeble Zoo side, Sofapaka were cruising and comfortably leading 2-0. Timothy Otieno was thrown straight into the mix just two days after being unveiled by Batoto ba Mungu and he showed his importance with movement on and off the ball in the final third of attack.
He played a vital role in the opening goal after 11 minutes, running behind the defense on the left before cutting back a cross which Collins Wakhungu beautifully teed up for Juma who slapped the ball home.
Three minutes later, Sofapaka had a chance to double the lead when Wakhungu went on a mazy run on the left before dropping a shoulder to leave his marker for dead, but the final shot was strongly parried away by keeper Brian Lumumba.
Zoo were pinned in their own half and relied on the counter for attack. They had an opening in the 27th minute when the ball landed on Collins Neto on the right but he shot into the side netting.
Three minutes on the turn, Sofapaka were 2-0 up.
Juma picked out Roy Okal with a defense splitting pass on the left before the midfielder lifted a cross into the box, Aswani heading the ball into the net against the underside of the bar.
Zoo head coach Herman Iswekha swapped his personnel immediately after conceding the second, youngster Danson Kiprono and winger Tayo Odongo coming on for Elvis Too and Edwin Namasaka.
They tried to build some pressure on the Sofapaka backline to no much success, but had an effort a minute to the break when Neto’s volleyed shot from the right was turned behind for a corner by Sofapaka keeper Simon Masaka.
In the second half, Zoo were more spirited as they ran spaces more, but always failed to create dangerous chances. Neto and Odongo both had chances to create danger in the final third, but their touches when it mattered most failed them.
Sofapaka were forced into a change, Mohamed Kilume coming off injured and Isaac Mitima coming in for him. Sofapaka also hauled in their new signing Burundian Amissi Bizimana.
Zoo also had to make a change, the impressive Kiprono coming off injured while Dennis Ongeri took his place.
Zoo were unable to make the most of the opportunities they had while Sofapaka looked comfortable with the two goal gap.