Leopards claw Batato ba Mungu

  Posted: 17 Aug 11, 20:00

By: Patrick Korir

AFC Leopards – Sofapaka, 3-1

AFC Leopards have leapt off position 12 in the 16 team Kenyan Premier League log after a deserved 3-1 win clawing of 2009 Champions Sofapaka.

Leopards got to the perfect start of the game when, just after the start, defender Martin Imbalambala sent a ball upfront that found former Ulinzi striker Mike Baraza. On the turn Baraza sent it to the right to feed June acquisition Oscar Kadenge. Kadenge’s cross into the box sailed above a spring boarding Duncan Ochieng and within the first minute Leopards was 1-0 up.

Sofapaka drew level 11 minutes later when skipper on the day Titus Mulama sent forward a left footed free kick from 30 yards.  The floated ball was met by a speeding Sofapaka central defender Dodo Kayombo who out jumped the entire Leopards defense to send in a powerful header past keeper Patrick Matasi.

A tactical Leopards’

Leopards were back in front just five minutes later when master of half chances Mike Baraza did just that – capitalised on a half chance. On 17 minutes, last man Kayombo miscued a kick and from the blind side Baraza appeared, got the ball and sent it goal wards from the edge of the box. An ill positioned Duncan Ochieng fluffed the ball as it rolled into the net for Leopard's second.

The goal was the ninth in the league for Baraza who now ties Moses Arita of Thika United atop the scorer’s charts.

A tactical Leopards’ playing purposeful football could have gone 3-1 up on 35 minutes had Emmanuel Tostao taken his chance well. Baraza got the ball to Tostao but from the left, his feeble shot was well taken care off by seasoned keeper Ochieng.  

Leopards consolidated their defense

Minute’s later right back Thomas Wanyama of Sofapaka delivered a high ball into the box but Humphrey Mieno and John Onami who were unmarked in the box were both caught offside.

It could have been worse for Sofapaka in the 41st minute when makeshift central defender Musa Mudde, naturally a midfielder, had a back pass intercepted by Tostao but an advancing Ochieng cut out the danger.  

Leopards consolidated their defense when early in the second half coach Jan Koops brought in Nicholas Muyoti to take up the spoilers role. The former skipper came in for Salim Kinje on 49 minutes. Sofapaka also got in Patrick Kagogo for Heritier Luvualu on 57 minutes as Coach Francis Kimanzi hoped to improve his offense.

On 62 minutes, a lethal Mike Baraza on the right wing sent a long ball across to advancing Kadenge on the left but his shot to the near post was well arrested by Ochieng.

Mieno, who returned from Tunisia this past Saturday, had the best chance to draw batoto ba mungu level but his shot was parried upward for a corner by Leopards keeper Matasi. Wanyama delivered a floated ball into the box which was knocked on backwards to Mieno by Bob Mugalia.

Sofapaka stalls

On 72 minutes, former Sofapaka striker Laurent Tumba from the left picked up a loose Kadenge in the open but the former Tusker striker, to his own surprise, saw his shot fly past the left upright when it looked easier to score.

But Tumba, who replaced Tostao on 66 minutes, got a chance of his own to score when he capitalised on no defending from Sofapaka's shaky defense to nod in a corner kick in the 82 minute. Tumba’s goal made it 3-1, a score that reversed the first leg loss for Leopards to Sofapaka.

Kimanzi’s tactical addition of Francis Ouma for Thomas Wanyama on 71 minutes did not result in much as Sofapaka desperately chased the goals but got none. The game ground to a halt after six minutes of added time after the regulation 90.

With the win, Leopards moves up to tenth and on 26 points in 20 games as Sofapaka stalls at sixth spot with 30 points.

AFC Leopards 1. Patrick Matasi, 5. Edwin Baraza, 24. Collins Kisuya, 4. Martin Imbalambala, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 22. Bernard Mangoli, 27. Oscar Kadenge (30. Samuel Mwangi - 85), 21. Emmanuel Tostao (8. Laurent Tumba – 66), 18. Salim Khamis (6. Nicholas Muyoti – 49), 10. Charles Okwemba (Captain), 11. Mike Baraza

Unused substitutes: 34. Abel Omuhaya (Gk), 26. Robert Syongoh, 14. Silas Aluvisia, 7. Brian Masiolo

Sofapaka: 39. Duncan Ochieng, 8. Dodo Kayombo, 7. Thomas Wanyama (18. Francis Ouma - 71), 25. Musa Mudde, 20. Humphrey Ochieng, 11. Anthony Kimani, 9. Bob Mugalia, 21. John Njoroge, 22. Heritier Luvualu (10. Patrick Kagogo – 57), 23. Titus Mulama (Captain), 19. John Onami

Substitutes:  28. Pascal Penda (keeper), 15. Kilonzo Tumba, 17. Elli Asieche, 30. Joseph Nyaga, 16. Collins Omogo


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