James Magayi @magayijim
Kenyan Premier League (KPL) 2008 champions Mathare United assumed league leadership after coming from behind to beat Nzoia Sugar 2-1 in a dramatic encounter at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos yesterday.
Nzoia drew first blood after 30 minutes when George Mutimba sneaked between Mathare defenders Samuel Olwande and goalkeeper Robert Mboya to poke home. Edgar Nzano had rifled a low shot towards goal and hesitancy to clear from both Olwande and Mboya allowed Mutimba to pounce.
Nzoia, who lost their opening game against Kariobangi Sharks in the previous weekend seemed destined for victory until 77th minute when goalkeeper Mustapha Oduor misjudged a tame header from Chris Oduor and then helplessly watched it trickle into the net.
Nzoia’s fate was sealed six minutes later from the spot when Francis Omondi sent Mustapha the wrong way to give Mathare the lead. Mathare had piled pressure on their visitors and won a corner who’s feeble clearance fell graciously to a well-placed Johnstone Omurwa.
Center referee Lucas Odhiambo flashed his red card and pointed to the spot when Omurua’s shot towards goal was punched out by young Nzoia defender Festus Okiring. Omondi who until then had been fortunate to stay in the game despite committing numerous fouls stepped up and gave Mathare their second victory.
Earlier at the same venue, debutants Vihiga United picked their first point in top-flight following a feisty 2-2 draw with Kariobangi Sharks. Vihiga were fortunate for their second goal following a regrettable howler from Gad Mathews, a young signing from Western Stima deployed in Sharks goal.
Sharks were up 2-1 in the 66th minute when central defenders shepherded a tame low ball for their debutant goalkeeper to gather. He stopped the ball with his right foot lining it up for clearance but his heavy touch moved the ball fortuitously to a hawk-eyed Andrew Murunga who pounced and steered the ball into goal for his second of the day.
Vihiga took the lead early in the second half when Murunga scored his first from a long throw in before Ebrimah Sanneh leveled for Sharks five minutes later.