AFC Leopards’ renaissance under new boss Rodolfo Zapata continued on Wednesday afternoon when they beat Sofapaka 1-0 to move 6th in the Kenyan Premier League table.
In a fast-paced match played at the Machakos County Stadium, the host’s more industrious approach especially after the interval proved decisive as they inflicted pain on John Baraza’s Batoto Ba Mungu.
A game that barely had any good goalmouth action in a barren first half presented a number of decent chances for Ingwe immediately after the breather.
Brian Marita’s right-footed cross from the right found an unmarked Wyvonne Isuzza in the six yard area but the attacking midfielder failed to test Mathias Kigonya, his header bouncing off the ground and into touch. Immediately after, Aziz Okaka also fluffed his lines after getting on the end of a cutback from Marita who was enjoying himself down the right.
Sofapaka’s Rodgers Aloro almost netted an own goal when his back pass almost fluked Kigonya, the ball just missing the net by inches.
On the other end, defender Robinson Kamura had to leap high and clear danger after his first attempted clearance almost presented Sofapaka with a chance.
Leopards, the enterprising and knocking via both wings, should have hit the opener when Jaffery Owiti found himself unmarked at the far post. His header was fine but Kigonya’s save was better, the keeper stretching and palming away the effort for a corner.
Sofapaka managed to contain the pressure and was enjoying more of the ball as the clock hit the 80th minute mark, substitute Ezekiel Okare especially looking dangerous.
They however were caught out with six minutes remaining when Isaac Oduro’s pass was met by Brian Marita who spotted Kigonya off his line and hit a half volley that sunk home, sending the less than 50 AFC Leopards fans who turned up to watch the match into celebration.
There was barely time for Sofapaka to pull level as their five game run without defeat came to an end.
Leopards’ second league win in a row puts them 6th on 28 points, three behind Batoto ba Mungu.
In other matches on the day, Ulinzi Stars were held to a 1-1 draw by Kakamega Homeboyz. Hassan Kikoyo gave the visitors the lead five minutes into the hour mark, only for Masita Masuta to pull his side level 12 minutes to the final whistle. The Soldiers were reduced to 10 men in added time following keeper James Saruni’s sending off.
Leaders Gor Mahia returned to domestic action emphatically as they hammered Wazito FC 4-0 in Kisumu. The Sportpesa Super Cup champions scored twice either side of half time with Meddie Kagere opening the floodgates in the 3rd minute and Boniface Omondi scoring at the half hour mark.
Francis Kahata made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute before Omondi got his second in added time. Kogalo extended their lead at the top to five points, and with four games in hand.