James Magayi and Fred Likuyani @PeopleSports11
Soon after acquiring a new name following ownership changes, Mount Kenya Football Club (formerly Nakumatt FC) got a baptism of fire as moneybags Sofapaka in their opening SportPesa Premier League match of the 2018/19 season at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos yesterday.
Leading the onslaught was John Avire, a striker who was in their ranks last season before switching to Sofapaka. He netted the opening goal with a spectacular diving header late in the first half after left-back Titus Achesa floated an inch-perfect cross into the box.
Experienced hitman Stephen Waruru then doubled Sofapaka’s tally from the spot 12 minutes into the second half after Kepha Aswani had gone down from a soft collision in the box.
Mount Kenya pulled one back 14 minutes from time with the games’ second penalty and piled pressure on Sofapaka, coached by Mt Kenya’s former tactician Melis Medo.
In the late kick-off at the same venue, AFC Leopards and Kariobangi Sharks played out to an entertaining one-all draw.
Ingwe had been in control when against the run of play, Sharks took the lead through winger Harrison Mwendwa in the 15th minute. Mwendwa received a defence-splitting pass from Shafan Oyugi before turning his marker Isaac Oduro and slotting the ball past Jairus Adira to put Sharks ahead.
The goal deflated Leopards but they were soon even as skipper of the day Robinson Kamura scored from the spot.
Striker Eugene Mukangula had collected a loose ball on the right side then drifted inside before letting fly a rasping shot that was deflected off course by Geoffrey Shiveka’s flying hand, earning Ingwe a penalty.
At Kakamega’s Bukhungu Stadium, Vihiga United started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Ulinzi Stars. The hosts started the match strongly with electrifying counter attacks orchestrated by wingers Chris Masinza and former Nzoia Sugar midfielder Steven Wakhanya.
The pressure was too much for the soldiers who succumbed to a fifth goal from former Sony Sugar midfielder Victor Odemba.
Ulinzi then controlled proceedings for large parts of the first half and created several scoring chances but were let down by poor finishing.
Their complacency was punished by Wakhanya who sealed the win for the home side after he latched onto a long ball before beating two Ulinzi defenders to slot home in the 44th minute.
In Awendo, Tusker FC surrendered their lead with 10 minutes left to share spoils with hosts Sony Sugar in 1-1 draw.