Kenya’s Ulinzi Stars were left to rue a defensive blunder as Tanzania’s Jeshi Stars beat the hosts 2-1 in a tightly contested clash at the Kasarani Stadium, Monday evening.
Goals from Kelvin Nashon and captain Maganga Vuli either side of Boniface Onyango’s equalizer handed Tanzania victory which keeps them in command of the round robin tournament.
The two sides renewed their rivalry in a match whose kickoff was delayed for over an hour as the teams waited for the arrival of Defence Cabinet Secretary Rachel Omamo.
When Ulinzi finally got the match underway, it was fireworks as the home side dominated the opening quarter, only to surrender the rest of the half to their visitors.
Nashon stroke Jeshi Stars ahead after 18 minutes as he drilled home from just inside the area following a fine team move.
Tanzania would boss the rest of half and lead 1-0 at the break, much to the annoyance of the home crowd.
Kenya greatly improved after the break especially with reigning Kenyan Premier League golden boot winner Enosh Ochieng having joined Oscar Wamalwa in attack just before the interval.
Tanzania found themselves defending more than they did in the opening half and after a number of close calls, Ulinzi netted the equalizer at the hour mark as he slammed home from inside the area after the Jeshi defence failed to clear a lose ball inside the area.
The goal opened up the game a bit more as Tanzania tried to reclaim their lead. The visitors looked dangerous on the counter especially down the wings with Ulinzi fullbacks Brian Birgen and Omar Mbongi kept on full alert.
Not alert to danger though was Ulinzi keeper Odhiambo who failed to claim the ball as Mohamed Hassan shielded Vuli who was applying pressure on a ball punted up the field.
Vuli capitalized on the miscommunication by stretching his legs to the limit while lifting the ball over Odhiambo.
Tanzania would play with the remaining time as they held on for victory which they shouldn’t have had Wamalwa not flopped at a clear goalscoring chance towards the death.
With two wins from two, Tanzania lead the log on 6 points, two above Kenya who have played a game more.
The Jeshi Stars will be back on the pitch tomorrow, Tuesday against Rwanda who Kenya play on Friday.