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Football

Tusker struggles continue with sour home loss to Talanta

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Jackson Muchiri battles for the ball with Alvin Ochieng of Talanta

Tusker suffered their second consecutive FKF Premier League defeat after going down 2-1 at home to newly promoted side FC Talanta.

The reigning FKF Premier League champions lost their opening game 1-0 at the hands of AFC Leopards and couldn’t bounce back with Ken Kenyatta’s Talanta coming out top on Wednesday.

“For many years now, Tusker has not won the first two games of the season and it was evident today that we struggle to start. But that is not an excuse and we have to wake up and realize our mistakes. We need to change,” a furious Robert Matano, the Tusker FC head coach said after the match.

He added; “We cannot be doing the same mistakes every game and we have to look at ourselves and correct as soon as possible.”

Pressure is now mounting on the coach with the club’s leadership asking for results especially after a heavy recruitment process that saw them bring on board more than 10 new players.

The CAF Champions League result against Zamalek where the brewers were drubbed 5-0 on aggregate did not help things. And when they thought a tie against Talanta would be perfect to bounce back, Tusker found themselves wanting again.

Francis Kahiro scored in either half in between Jackson Macharia’s goal as the newbies continued their unbeaten start to top flight life with their second victory in four matches.

Talanta got into the lead after 10 minutes when the Tusker backline failed to defend an Evans Maliachi freekick and Kahiro took advantage with a stretched finish on his boot at the back post.

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Ibrahim Joshua of Tusker chases the ball down under pressure from Shela Mandela

Robert Matano’s men put up a brave face and tried to battle their way back. Stewart Omondi came close with a well weighted shot from the edge of the box but it went over.

Striker Ibrahim Joshua had a chance too when he took on a volley from 25 yards out, but his effort was high and wild after some good set up by Macharia.

They came closest in the final two minutes of the half, midfielder Clyde Senaji bearing both opportunities. First, he rose unmarked inside the box to meet a John Njuguna cross from the right, but his angled header was just over.

A minute later, Tusker were awarded an indirect freekick after the Talanta keeper handled a backpass. It was started short and rolled to Senaji, but his curling effort was tipped over the bar by the shot stopper.

In the second half, Matano made changes, bringing off debutant Stewart Omondi, Njuguna and Rodgers Ouma, replacing them with Shami Kibwana, Boniface Muchiri and Kevin Okoth.

Tusker had moments of dominance as they pressed the ball into Talanta’s half.

They were rewarded in the 57th minute when Jackson Macharia kneed the ball home after striker Ibrahim Joshua shielded the ball away from the defense off Kibwana’s cross.

But the joy of the equalizer lived for only five minutes as Kahiro netted his second with a header unmarked inside the box when the Tusker backline was found flat once again off Enock Machaka’s cross from the right.

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Tusker FC’s CLyde Senaji in action against Talanta

With pressure on their shoulders, Tusker turned back the tide and came close in the 68th minute when Muchiri teed up Macharia, but his curling effort went just over the bar.

Matano made more changes, Lawrence Luvanda and Deogratious Ojok coming on for Joshua and Macharia.

Tusker threw everything at Talanta but their efforts all came to nothing.

Elsewhere, former champions Gor Mahia picked up their third successive win in the league after beating Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 at the Kasarani Stadium. Benson Omalla and Peter Lwasa, a former Sharks player, had the goals for the record Kenyan champions in either half.

Omalla broke the deadlock in the 11th minute with a simple shot into an unmanned net after picking up a lose ball inside the box. A mistake from keeper Brandon Obiero in missing his control saw Gor win possession inside the box.

Minutes later, the keeper made amends with a fine save, tipping the ball behind for a corner to keep out Lwasa’s well taken shot from distance.

In the second half, Sharks’ best chance of the game fell on Erick Mmata who turned well on the left but his shot was saved by keeper Gad Mathews, another former Sharks product.

Lwasa was to haunt his former employers late in the second half and it was thanks to another goalkeeping mess from Obiero. The shot stopper’s clearance from his own box fell on his former teammate who made no mistake with a shot from distance.

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