A second-half strike from the visitors silence the Soldiers in a top-tier assignment
AFC Leopards maintained their recent dominance over Ulinzi Stars after claiming a 1-0 win at the Nakuru ASK Show Grounds in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League assignment on Thursday.
Caleb Olilo struck the only goal that ensured the 13-time league champions bagged maximum points.
Having lost the initial meeting by a solitary goal, the Soldiers had come into the match aiming at avenging it. However, they were not going to get it easily over the determined visitors who aimed at finishing the season on a high.
Ulinzi were a better side as compared to Ingwe in early exchanges and in the 13th minute, Benjamin Ochan was called to action to deny Mark Bikokwa who was keen on finishing a good John Njuguna pass.
Two minutes later, the attacker, once again, failed to beat the custodian after beating the defenders. It was a wake-up call for the Patrick Aussems-led charges who took time to settle.
Even after the water break, it was the four-time champions who continued to push for an opening goal. In the 36th minute, Ochan, again, came to Ingwe’s rescue, this time around, stopping Masita Masuta who had gone past Collins Shivachi.
The meaningful attempt in the first half, from Ingwe, came in the 43rd minute when Washington Munene beat his marker, but James Saruni pulled a fantastic save to deny him.
After the break, Leopards steadily improved, stopping their opponents from getting to their danger zone regularly.
Another chance for Ingwe came in the 67th minute. Yusuf Mainge played a long ball to Elvis Rupia, but the striker missed the target after managing to hold off the defenders.
Against the run of play, it was Ingwe who scored in the 72nd minute. Olilo was given space in a good area and unleashed a fierce strike which Saruni failed to keep out.
The goal set up a tense finale with Clinton Omondi thinking he had equalised in the 80th minute, only for the assistant referee to raise an offside flag.
The win took Ingwe to third with 47 points, seven less than 10th placed Stars.
Ulinzi Stars XI: James Saruni, Brian Birgen, Haron Mwale, Bonface Andayi, Alex Masinde, Bonface Onyango, Masuta Masita, John Kago, Mark Bikokwa, Elvis Nandwa, John Njuguna
Subs: Jacktone Odhiambo, Bernard Ongoma, Quintine Indeche, Byron Odiaga, Oscar Wamalwa, Enosh Ochieng, Kelvin Thairu, Clinton Omondi.
AFC Leopards XI: Benjamin Ochan, Washington Munene, Collins Shivachi, Yusuf Mainge, Isaac Kipyegon, Tsuma Said, Austin Odhiambo, Brian Wanyama, Caleb Olilo, Peter Thiong’o, Elvis Rupia
Subs: Ezekiel Owade, Omar Somobwana, Robert Mudenyu, Dan Sunguti, Saad Mousa, Bonface Mukhekhe, Shaka Bienvenue
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