Former champions Ingwe move to third on the log after piping the soldiers in Nakuru
AFC Leopards have leaped to third spot in the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League following a 1-0 win over a stubborn Ulinzi Stars side in an entertaining midweek duel played at Nakuru A.S.K. Grounds.
Leopards’ diminutive midfielder Said Tsuma was named man of the match for his cameo performance, but Caleb Olilo was the scorer of the lone goal in the 70th minute, beating an advancing Ulinzi custodian James Saruni from close range after the teams had played to a barren draw in the first half.
Ingwe are now on 47 points from 30 matches with two matches left to end the campaign.
This was an important victory for Patrick Aussems’ charges who have also had an indifferent campaign especially in the second leg but ultimately having done a double on the soldiers was considerably a plus.
Leopards are now in a good position to finish in top three for the first time in six years.
The soldiers, who are 10th on the log with 41 points, proved a difficult opponent the entire match going by their resolute defending and opportunities at attack.
The Benjamin Nyangweso’s men had good possession in the decisive areas particularly through Mark Bikokwa and Clinton Omondi but to no avail as the opposing goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan was up to the task.
Leopards on their part charged at opportunity with the likes of Austin Odhiambo and Peter Thiong’o being a thorn in the flesh of the opponents.
Meanwhile, league leaders Tusker FC and Kenya Commercial Bank FC are staring at the finish line with three matches left for the pair.
The duo are tied on 58 points from 29 matches but with the Brewers on a better goal difference of +4.
Tusker Coach Robert Matano knows how it is like under such circumstances having faced a similar situation in 2011 where his team won against Gor Mahia who drew in the decisive last match of the season.
However, he is only concerned about the mental strength of his charges.
“We have destiny in our hands and maybe there is pressure but not for me. I have been tried and tested. I thrive well under such circumstances and this is what I will be telling my players.
We have three matches to think about and not necessarily the title so it is a game at a time for us,” said the veteran tactician who has already qualified his team for the 2021/22 CAF Champions League Competition.
Brewers take on seventh placed Kakamega Homeboyz in a tough encounter this afternoon at Ruaraka Grounds with the corresponding fixture ending 1-0 in favor of the Brewers.
KCB on their part will have an easier fixture against bottom placed Vihiga United away at Bukhungu with full points in their mind.
However, the Bankers tactician Zedekiah Otieno has warned against any complacency in the match.
“All points count and against a team in the lower end of the table it can be tricky so we have to be at our best,”he said.
Vihiga have 20 points only off 30 matches with only two matches left to determine their fate in the top tier.