By Steve Ayoo (@Steifmaster88)
Mount Kenya FC, formerly Nakumatt FC, started their new era of ownership on a losing note as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sofapaka.
The two sides met for their 2018-19 Kenyan Premier League season opener at the Machakos Stadium, Sunday afternoon, both looking to begin the season on a high.
It was Melis Medo’s side however who achieved their target as a first half goal from John Avire and a Stephen Waruru penalty after the break gave Batoto ba Mungu the win despite an inspired finish from Mount Kenya who pulled one back via an Amani Kyata penalty.
The visitors created the game’s first chance just five minutes in as Cliff Kasuti missed a sitter from the edge of the box following a cross from Waruru.
Mt Kenya however came closest to getting the opener as Samuel Ndungu’s vicious free-kick drew an awkward save from Richard Aimo while Tevin Opondo hit the post following a piercing pass from Antony Mbugua.
Sofapaka’s best chances were coming off long balls sunk behind the opposing defence but they failed to capitalize. Waruru benefited from one such passes but despite rounding the keeper, his cut back from a tight angle was dealt with.
John Avire was next in line as he raced past Peter Odhiambo but with the goal at his mercy, Frank Bala made a timely recovery to stop a certain goal.
Sofapaka’s pressure finally paid off just two minutes before the break as Avire netted a diving header off a cross from Titus Achesa, the goal completing a fine counterattacking football from the 2009 champions.
They doubled their lead eight minutes after the interval, Waruru netting from spot after substitute Kepha Aswani had been felled in the box by Amani.
Chances were at premium following the quick strikes but Sofapaka looked in total control.
However, Amani threw a spanner in the works with quarter an hour to go as he netted from the spot following a foul by keeper Aimo on Boniface Mukhekhe, the keeper getting a booking for his sins.
Mount Kenya’s quest to get something out of the game received a massive blow as keeper Odhiambo had to leave the field following a nasty clash with Aswani that left the custodian needing an extended medical care.
Having used all their subs, Mt Kenya had to play the final 10 minutes with a man less as John Njoroge assumed the goalkeeping duties, going the distance without being hugely tested.
In other matches, Enock Agwanda scored late in the second half to cancel David Human’s opener and earn Sony Sugar a 1-1 draw against visiting Tusker FC as Nzoia United won 1-0 at Zoo Kericho.
Vihiga United scored twice in the opening half through Victor Ademba and Stephen Wakanya to dismiss Ulinzi Stars 2-0.