AFC Leopards emerged 1-0 winners in their BetKing Premier League (BKPL) clash with Ulinzi Stars at the Moi International Sports Center (MISC) Kasarani on Wednesday 24th February.
Peter Thiong’o scored the all important goal in the game, having come off the bench at the start of the second half as a replacement for the ineffective Jaffary Owiti and would very late in the game grab the winner.
In a clash that saw few clear cut chances, Ulinzi Stars will have themselves to blame for not taking an early lead, after Oscar Wamalwa got one on one with the AFC Leopards keeper Benjamin Ochan, and with acres of space but fluffed his lines.
The chance, on 17 minutes, landed gracefully at Wamalwa’s feet and with the striker in full sight of goal, needlessly took a first and a second touch. His intent to pull the trigger with the third touch was well read and Ochan narrowed the channel on him as defender Clyde Senaji closed in.
The Soldiers had keeper James Saruni and the post to thank for the tie heading to the break at 0-0. First, the Ulinzi skipper went well to his right to keep out an Elvis Rupia free kick, then moments later Harrison Mwendwa beat the keeper but his low shot bounced off the post as Leopards stepped up.
Leopards were a different side in the second half, denying Ulinzi Stars any meaningful sight of goal but threatening with each move forward. It called on a very alert Ulinzi Stars back line to keep out the marauding Leopards, but only until the 77th minute.
The hosts spotted a struggling Byron Odiaga and opted to launch their attacks from his flank. In the 77th minute Austin Odhiambo collected the ball in the flank and took on a retracting Odiaga, creating time for his mates to pile in the Ulinzi box before sliding in a low cross for Thion’go to tap in.
Ulinzi’s best efforts would not create an equalizer and they had to take in their second defeat of the season as Leopards rose from their 2-1 loss to Bandari FC last time out.