Muhoroni Youth and Ulinzi Stars battled to a barren draw in the first leg of their KPL Top 8 semifinal clash at the Nyayo Stadium, Sunday afternoon.
The Soldiers, who welcomed long-serving Stephen Waruru back to the side, had a taste of the bar twice in the opening half and also had a penalty saved by Muhoroni keeper Farouk Shikhalo who had conceded the spot kick with a reckless challenge on Enosh Ochieng while trying to atone for a poor pass 18 minutes into the opening half.
Winger Kevin Amwayi stepped forward but failed to beat Shikhalo who dived to make the save. Amwayi then saw his cross from a corner headed into the crossbar by Boniface Onyango as the Soldiers attacked with great abandon.
Amwayi’s chance came after a dour opening quarter hour which was contested cautiously by both sides. Daniel Waweru almost gave Ulinzi what looked like an inevitable lead but his shot kissed the upright, before Onyango hit the bar with a header.
Muhoroni’s chances were few and far between with their best chance falling to Sammy Ndung’u but who hesitated on a cross, wasting a promising chance in the process.
The two sides went into the breather on level terms with Muhoroni keeping their cool despite a series of attacks from their visitors.
Muhoroni created better chances after the interval with Wycliffe Ochomo and Demonde Selenga keeping the center-half pairing of Benson Sande and Geoffrey Kokoyo busy but without getting the needed breakthrough. Substitute Andrew Ssekayombya almost made a dream debut for Muhoroni when he latched onto a ball from Ochomo but he hit the side netting while Ezekiel Otuoma failed to connect to a devilish ball from Waweru as the minutes tick tocked.
Ochomo had the last say in the match with a thunderous right footed shot which flew just over to the relief of Ulinzi keeper James Saruni.
The two sides however settled for a barren draw which was a fair reflection of the game. Ulinzi host the second leg next weekend with the tie tipped in the balance.
Muhoroni Youth Starting XI: Farouk Shikhalo (GK), Wycliffe Nyangechi, Yusuf Mohamed, Paul Muchika, Peter Okore, Kelvin Omondi, Moses Arita, Francis Ocholla (c), Wycliffe Ochomo, Demonde Selenga, Sammy Ndungu.
Subs: Timothy Igweta (GK), Franklyn Osama, Paul Mboya, Andrew Ssekayombya, Ben Mosha, Abdalla Hamisi.
Ulinzi Stars Starting XI: 1.James Saruni,35. Brian Birgen,19. Omar Mbongi, 12.Benson Sande,2. Geoffrey Kokoyo,18. Boniface Onyango, 26.Daniel Waweru, 28.Churchill Muloma,25. Enosh Ochieng, 23. Ezekiel Otuoma, 10. Kevin Amwayi
Subs: 20.Jactone Odhiambo, Byron Odiaga, 22. Stephen Waruru, 6. Eric Apul, 39. Vincent Ochieng’, 32. John Kago, 29. Michael Otieno
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