James Magayi and Dickens Wasonga @PeopleSports11
AFC Leopards’ hope of delivering a belated birthday present to their fans went up in smoke as the home soil charm they were counting on to trounce on-form Sofapaka backfired yesterday.
Leopards, who celebrated 55 years since their formation on Tuesday, had been on a mini revival with back-back wins in the SportPesa Premier League against Sony Sugar and Tusker FC after a six-match losing streak and given one of those victories came at Bukhungu Stadium, they had hoped for a third one against Sofapaka at the same venue.
However, that did not materialise as John Avire scored two minutes into first half added time to give Batoto Ba Mungu a crucial victory, sending Sofapaka top of the table on 33 points, one more than second-placed Bandari who have played two games fewer.
Vanquished Leopards on the other hand remained 15th on the log and must regroup to reboot their flailing campaign as the second half of the season beckons.
After an evenly poised first half in which both teams created and missed chances, Avire popped up with a stunner deep into stoppage time to spark panic at the den.
Leopards returned with intent in the second half and troubled Sofapaka with their attacking set up that had Whyvonne Isuza, Eugene Mukangula, Vincent Oburu, Wayi Yeka and Jaffery Owiti all engaged. At Kasarani stadium, 2018 Shield winners Kariobangi Sharks consolidated fifth place on the table with a narrow 1-0 victory over Nzoia Sugar. Fit-again 2018 Golden Boot winner Eric Kapaito marked his return-from-injury with a second goal in as many starts.
Sharks, Chemelil win
Lurking at the edge of Nzoia Sugar goal area, Kapaito collected a pass from Harrison Mwendwa and riffled the ball low into the net to hand Sharks a seventh league victory this season. The goal also ensured William Muluya’s side maintained an excellent winning record over Nzoia in all their five league meetings.
Meanwhile, Chemelil Sugar registered their fourth win of the season after overcoming a hard-fighting Western Stima 2-0. Goals from John Ochieng, who scored a 28th minute penalty, and Lucas Waitere’s 67th minute strike ensured Chemelil got maximum points which moved them from the relegation zone to position 13 on 17 points. The match witnessed a number of hard tackles which forced the referee to dish out seven yellow cards, five of which went to visiting Chemelil.
However, Chemelil will also have to thank their goalkeeper Morgan Alube as he made a number of crucial saves to keep his side in the game.