Sharks, Leopards fire blanks

Monday, September 16th, 2019 00:00 |
Kariaobangi Sharks defender Eric Juma (left) battles for the ball with AFC Leopards winger Paul Were during their Kenyan Premier League match at Kasarani Stadium yesterday. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Kenyan giants AFC Leopards’ expensively-assembled squad remained winless and without a goal two games into in the 2019/20 Kenyan Premier League season after failing to break down Kariobangi Sharks at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.

Former golden boot winner John Makwata, signed on transfer deadline day, bundled the ball into the net late in the game after a fine through ball by Hansel Ochieng but the referee adjudged him to be offside to the chagrin of handful fans in the stadium.

For a side teeming with big-name players, Leopards were too lethargic in the first 45 minutes, ending the half without registering a single shot on target.

The forward line comprising Makwatta and highly-acclaimed Malian Ismaila Diara did not justify selection by coach Andre Casa Mbungo.

With little supply coming from Paul Were and youngster John Wanda from  the wings, Ingwe chased shadows and looked tired at it as Sharks ran the show with sleek passing moves and dangerous runs.

Ugandan international manning Leopards’ post Benjamin Ochan made three wonderful saves in the first half to keep Ingwe in the game.

Ochan first came to Ingwe’s rescue in the 24th minute when a casual back pass from Collins Shivachi was intercepted by 2018 golden boot winner Eric Kapaito in the 24th minute.

The usually clinical finisher was too close to Ochan to devise a way past him and only managed to ram the ball into the goalkeeper. The Ugandan then rescued Ingwe for the second time with a double save four minutes from half time. 

A low ball struck behind the Ingwe defence by Julius Masaba put Patrick Otieno through and he picked the near post for his finish.

Ochan was well beaten but his flailing right foot caught the ball on its way into the net, sending it back to Patila Omoto whose wild rebound was well parried by the Ugandan. 

For all their lethargy, Ingwe created one chance in the half, midfielder Tresor Ndikumana weaving his way into the box from Ingwe’s left side of attack only for the Burundian to hit the side netting when it was the difficult option.

Leopards made two changes upon resumption and immediately looked a different side. Ineffective Diarra made way for the hugely impressive Hansel Ochieng while Wanda was also rested for another youngster in Austin Odhiambo.

Ingwe nearly got on the score sheet two minutes later as Makwatta missed from eight yards as Ochieng’s rebound under great pressure but from close range flew off target. 

Meanwhile, newly-promoted Kisumu All Stars recorded their first top-flight point after holding KCB to a scoreless draw.

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