First win for soldiers in five SPL matches as skirmishes mark AFC Leopards loss to Homeboyz in Bukhungu ‘Ingo derby’

James Magayi and Frederick Likuyani

SportPesa Premier League (SPL) giants Ulinzi Stars ended their five game winless run with a comfortable victory over shambolic Thika United at Thika Municipal Stadium yesterday. 

Elvis Nandwa scored in each half to give the soldiers a 2-0 victory that left Thika United spiraling further into relegation abyss.

The game was barely underway when the former Mathare United talisman latched on to Masita Masuta’s low cross from the right then embarrassingly chipped the ball over Eliud Emase between Thika’s posts for Ulinzi’s opener.

Ulinzi were favourite to win the game despite not tasting victory in five of their previous league ties. Mass exodus from the cash strapped Thika deprived the Kiambu Country outfit of some of their trusted cogs as they paraded novices signed in the past couple of days to try and upstage Ulinzi Stars.

Nandwa’s early goal however, dashed lingering fears of the inexperienced Thika pulling an upset over a team suffering a choking lack of form. Ulinzi however, were not ruthless as they played casually, letting Thika lads grow into the game and threateningly venture into the soldiers’ danger areas.

Masuta and Nandwa spurned two good chances to increase Ulinzi’s tally but much of their hindrance was self-inflicted as their casual approach and complacency let Thika get away easily. A more clinical opponent would have harvested more goals but Thika held for a 1-0 halftime score line.

More casual play in the second half prevented Ulinzi from stretching their lead until Thika conceded a free kick in the 70th minute. Nandwa rose highest and met the ball ferociously to beat Emase for the second time and double Ulinzi’s advantage. Ulinzi dominated without turning possession into goals and Thika were lucky to concede just two. At Buhkungu stadium in Kakamega County, chaos broke out as AFC Leopards fans stormed the pitch protesting an overruled goal. Hosts Kakamega Homeboyz had taken a 2-0 lead over Ingwe when Whyvonne Isuza pulled one back in the 70th minute only for the center referee to rule it out for offside.

The decision drew the fans wrath and sparked violent protests forcing the game to be halted for over 20 minutes. Former AFC Leopards striker Alan Wanga was Ingwe’s destroyer in chief as he scored in each half to put Homeboyz firmly in front.

Wanga completed a stunning hat trick from the spot when order was restored and play resumed.

Homeboyz inflicting AFC Leopard’s first loss after eight premier league games and secured coach Paul Nkata’s tenancy in Kakamega following a debilitating 6-1 mauling by Nakumatt in mid June.

In Nairobi, Posta Rangers scored in the 75th minute to claim maximum points against relegation threatened Zoo Kericho.

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