AFC Leopards lose chance to assume ascendency in BetKing Premier League after a shock 3-1 defeat
A resurgent Tusker regained the Betking Premier League lead after a convincing 4-0 win over Vihiga United at Mumias Complex yesterday.
The result, which saw Tusker open up a two-point gap at the top, in essence threw the title race wide open and especially after AFC Leopards slumped to a shock 3-1 defeat at the hands of newbies Bidco United in the second match of the day at Ruaraka grounds.
For Tusker who had registered two consecutive draws prior to yesterday’s match, nothing was as good as being at the top again after relinquishing the spot to KCB.
The Brewers showed hunger early in the match and it was least surprising when Harambee Stars trialist Henry Meja gave them a deserved lead in the fifth minute when he pounced on a cross from former Sofapaka star Rodgers Aloro to beat goalkeeper Mustapha Oduor at the near post.
Still pressing, Tusker almost added the tally in a burst of eight minutes, Boniface Muchiri skying his effort before Humphrey Mieno was denied by Mustapha who dived the right way to save a scorcher.
Vihiga made half-hearted attacks with the closest coming off the boot of Isaac Otieno in the 18th minute with Michael Wanjala between Tusker posts doing well to smother the shot.
In the 22nd minute Muchiri, who was a thorn in Vihiga’s backline, was at it again, forcing Mustapha into a great save as Tusker continued dictating the proceedings.
Mieno would then make an assist for Tusker’s second goal in the 38th minute when he teed off Kevin Okoth who found acres of space inside Vihiga’s backline to slot in past Mustapha.
The third goal in the 55th minute was a masterclass when Christopher Ochieng sidestepped his opponent to find the back of the net with a volley.
Vihiga’s misery was completed when Robert Alore buried a penalty in the eighth minute of added time to make the scoreline 4-0.
An elated Tusker coach Robert Matano hailed his charges for recovering from two uninspiring draws but nonetheless noted that there is still much more which needs to be done if they are to claim the title they last laid their hands on in 2016.
“I think we played fantastic football in a dreary hunting ground but the worst we can do is to be carried away by the win. Remember, the league lead has been a see-saw affair which is why we need to work harder to get more wins,” said Matano.
At Ruaraka, AFC Leopards blew up their chances of taking the lead for the first time after an embarrassing 3-0 defeat by newly-promoted Bidco.
Bidco, a very stubborn side driven by raw determination, subdued the Leopards, thus making their intentions known of remaining in the league.
Alex Juma drew the first blood for the Thika side, beating the on-rushing Leopards custodian Benjamin Ochan before Peter Nzuki added the second goal in the 38th minute followed by David Orem’s strike in the 68th minute.
Second half substitute Bienvenue Shaka scored for Leopards in the 81st minute but it was too little too late for the title-chasing Ingwe.