Sofapaka applied all the tricks in the book to edge out stubborn Mathare United 3-2 in a closely contested SportPesa Premier League (SPL) match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos yesterday.
Mathare, who had recorded 10 draws going into the match, were surprisingly naïve in the early exchanges and it was least surprising when they conceded in the ninth minute, Elly Asieche’s half volley falling on the path of Kepha Aswani whose point blank header beat goalkeeper David Okello at close range, as the Harambee Stars striker recorded his ninth goal of the season.
Unperturbed after conceding the early goal, Mathare prodded and Sofapaka’s Dennis Odhiambo handled inside the box prompting the referee to award a penalty with Francis Omondi making no mistake with the spot-kick, sending Wycliff Kasaya the wrong way.
Despite the set-back, Sofapaka kept on knocking on Mathare’s door and seven minutes after the half hour mark, they regained their lead through Asieche’s penalty after an infringement inside the box.
Mathare’s defensive howler then presented Sofapaka striker Pistone Mutamba with a chance to net Batoto Ba Mungu’s third goal before Alfred Ndonye reduced the arrears for Mathare with the second goal.
In another match played at the same venue, AFC Leopards needed Salim Abdallah’s second half goal to silence Sony Sugar 1-0.
Elsewhere at Sudi Stadium in Bungoma, wasteful Nzoia Sugar settled for a barren draw with Posta Rangers.
Nzoia should blame themselves for dropping points after missing a 33rd minute penalty with Elvis Rupia ballooning his effort after Rangers’ Joseph Mbugi had handled the ball inside the box.
Following the results, Nzoia and Rangers are tied on points with the former advantaged on a better goal aggregate.
In Ruaraka, Tusker cashed in on homeground advantage to pip Nakumatt 1-0 thus completing a double over the super market side who they beat 2-1 in the first leg clash at Kenyatta Stadium in May.
At Afraha Stadium, Oscar Wamalwa saved Ulinzi Stars from the jaws of defeat when he scored deep in stoppage time in a 1-1 draw with Kariobangi Sharks.
Ovellah Ochieng’ had given Sharks the lead in the 15th minute before Wamalwa cashed in on a lapse in the visitors defence with two minutes left on the clock to put the army team on level terms.
At Jericho’s Camp Toyoyo ground, Vihiga United piled more misery on relegation-threatened Wazito by beating them 1-0.