A sturdy Nakumatt beat Ushuru 1-0 in a tense first SportPesa Premier League (SPL) playoff at Jericho’s Camp Toyoyo Grounds Friday.
Midfielder Tom Adwar was the difference as his rasping 21st minute free kick beat the outstretched Ushuru custodian Kennedy Obwanda at the far post.
Ushuru who deployed two holding midfielders had an upper hand in the opening exchanges as Nakumatt settled in especially from flank play.
The taxmen under Ken Kenyatta and who are in the playoffs for the second consecutive time,had good moments inside the opening 15 minutes with Luis Masika and Ekalianah Ndolo running the show with their delivery and cover. Skipper Oscar Mbugua was also instrumental in his passing to catch the tightly marked pair of Billy Oporia and Benson Amianda.
At the rear end,Nakumatt were holding off any threats through reliable skipper Eugene Ambulwa and sweeper Clinton Kisiavuki who had collectively a busy match.
This was following David Otieno’s foul on lively winger Joseph Waithira from 20 yards out. Ushuru seemed to be shaky at the back as the trio of Harun Nyakha, Timona Wanyonyi and Cornelius Lusaka tormented them.
Nakumatt played cautious and covered their spaces well even as the twin taxmen strike force of Amianda and Oporia looked starved of clear-cut balls to threaten opponents’ backline. Billy Oporia hits the post of a goalmouth melee in the 39th minute with Nakumatt keeper well beaten.
Lusaka was often guilty of losing balls angering his boss Melissa Medo at the touchline even with his teammates in good positions to score.
In the second half,Ushuru came on rejuvenated as they pressed up the field. The entry of Barack Odhiambo was a boon for the taxmen as his dizzying runs created all manner of trouble at the Nakumatt rearguard with goalkeeper Philip Odhiambo having to be on full alert.