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Tusker drown Sofapaka to go back top of KPL standings

Tusker drown Sofapaka to go back top of KPL standings

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Tusker FC moved back to the top of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League standings, albeit till second placed KCB plays Gor Mahia on Sunday, after beating Sofapaka 2-1 at the Ruaraka Complex on Saturday evening.

Tusker had to come from a goal down, Rodgers Aloro cancelling out Lawrence Juma’s early penalty before Jackson Macharia came off the bench to score the winner with eight minutes of regulation time left to play.

Tusker now move to 58 points, one above second placed KCB who play outgoing champions Gor Mahia in Thika on Sunday.

“It is a huge relief for us. The win comes after two losses and it feels good that we are back to winning ways. We are determined to win the league, it’s no secret. We will work hard in the remaining three games of the season to ensure that we are victorious,” said Tusker head coach Robert Matano.

The match was tight in the opening half hour with few chances and far in between. Tusker’s first real chance of the game came in the 29th minute when Henry Meja rose high to glance in a header from the edge of the six yard box which the keeper saved. Mike Madoya reacted to the rebound, but was flagged down for offside.

MIke Madoya of Tusker FC in action against Sofapaka

Two minutes on the turn, the brewers found themselves trailing when Madoya brought down Waithira inside the box. Juma stepped up and scored the penalty for his 13th goal of the season.

But Tusker worked to get back on level terms and they did so just before halftime when defender ALoro scored his second goal in as many matches with a sweet volley from the edge of the six yard box after Brian Marita’s corner landed on his path.

In the second half, Tusker came back with vigour and determination. Madoya came inches close to taking his side ahead in the 59th minute but his brilliant low shot on the turn missed the target by inches.

Tusker made offensive changes, George Odhiambo and Eric Zakayo coming on for Chris Ochieng and Marita. They would also later bring in Macharia and Humphrey Mieno for Madoya and Kevin Okoth.

Tusker midfielder Kevin Okoth strides away from Sofapaka’s Sunday Ikekhai

They were better offensively with the introduction of Macharia and Mieno adding them creativity upfront. They were rewarded eight minutes from time when Macharia netted the winner.

A cross from Hillary Wandera on the left was headed back into play at the backpost by Zakayo with Mieno giving it a touch and Macharia finishing off with a volley inside the box.

Sofapaka built pressure on Tusker to get the equalizer and the brewers were forced to go defensive, striker Henry Meja coming off for defender Vincent Ngesa. They just but managed to hold on to the win, though scrappy but vital.

Meanwhile earlier on, Mathare United took the biggest step towards surviving the relegation axe when they beat high flying Nairobi City Stars 2-0. The victory took them three points clear off the drop zone at 15th place.

Mathare United players celebrate one of their goals against City Stars

Clifford Alwanga gave Mathare the lead with a nifty backheel inside the box in the 10th minute after John Mwangi hit goalwards a cross from James Kinyanjui who had done the damage with a good run on the right.

Mathare keeper David Okello had to be on toes to ensure his side remained in the game, making a brilliant save to deny Bolton Omwenga from a freekick. City Stars’ Timothy Ouma had a shot from inside the box go inches wide minutes later.

In the second half, Mathare sought to get the game over and done with quick and they did so in the 69th minute when Daniel Otieno’s quickly taken freekick found City Stars keeper Steve Njung’e offguard.

In other matches played on Saturday, Ulinzi Stars played to a 1-1 draw with Bidco United while AFC Leopards thrashed relegation fighting Vihiga United 3-1, both matches played in Thika.

Elvis Rupia, Austin Odhiambo and Peter Thiong’o were on target for AFC, all goals assisted by Harrison Mwendwa. Kevin Omondi scored the consolation for Vihiga in the 75th minute, but it was not enough to mount a comeback.

Vihiga now find themselves hanging precariously in the drop zone and are bottom with 20 points four off safety and one behind the play-off slot.

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