Tusker lose ground as controversy mar draw with Ulinzi
Kenyan Premier League title chasers Tusker FC lost impetus in their push for a 12th crown when Ulinzi Stars tore their form book and held them to a1-1 draw at Ruaraka grounds yesterday.
Controversy engulfed Tusker’s equalising goal as match officials awarded the hosts a penalty when Timothy Otieno ought to have been flagged offside and Ulinzi Stars goalkeeper Jackton Odhiambo appeared to have got to the ball first in a challenge with the forward.
The penalty call drew angry protest from Ulinzi players but the officials stuck to their decision. Otieno stepped up and whipped in his 11th goal of the season.
Ulinzi had dictated terms from onset and deserved more than just a point from the game.
Last season’s top scorer Enos Ochieng emerged from anonymity to put the soldiers ahead with a fierce drive at the stroke of halftime.
The 24-year-old did justice to a glorious long ball floated behind the brewers’ central defensive partnership of Eugene Asike and Rodgers Aloro.
Having been picked out by the precision of John Njuguna, Ochieng made two touches on the ball, taming it with his initial before letting fly from the edge of the box to beat Emery Mvuryekure in Tusker’s goal.
Ulinzi had been superb the entire half with midfielders Ibrahim Shambi and Njuguna coming close to breaking the deadlock on four occasions. Shambi had the first shot at Tusker’s goal but Mvuryekure was directly in front of the ball.
A bullet header in the 20th minute soared just over the bar, leaving Shambi frustrated. Njuguna then had his chances first from inside the box but the winger shot feebly.
Tusker upped the ante in the second half when Robert Matano introduced David Majak and George Odhiambo as the hosts chased the game.
Ulinzi briefly rode their luck as Tusker created several chances but a quick counter attack resulted in Ochieng almost bundling in his second goal.
Tusker retreated and the soldiers steadied ship until the penalty incident in the 65th minute that undeed their work.