Sofapaka quickly reclaimed second spot in the Kenyan Premier League log after a stoppage time winner from Umaru Kasumba edged Ulinzi Stars 1-0 at the Narok Stadium, Sunday (5)
The striker was handed an unmissable chance right at the death by Stephen Waruru who tricked his way past his former teammates before squaring the ball to his striker who finished with the necessary ease.
That moment, coming in the first minute of the two additional minutes, settled a tightly fought game which looked destined to end in a stalemate. Had the points been shared, no team would have felt hard done by as they matched each other toe-to-toe and blade by blade in a sunny and windy Narok Stadium.
The result sees Sofapaka reclaim second spot which they had lost to Bandari FC 24 hours earlier.
Ulinzi bossed the opening proceedings, looking extremely dangerous with their interplay especially down the right where Cliff Kasuti was operating.
It was however the hosts who created the first chance as Kasumba failed to keep his header down from Ellie Asieche’s 12th minute free-kick.
Dennis Odhiambo would get the game’s first effort on target when he took aim at the edge of the area but a full-stretched Jacktone Odhiambo averted the danger for a fruitless corner.
The hosts were enjoying their newly found attacking verve as Kasumba got even closer minutes later but his attempted chip was overcooked.
Elvis Nandwa missed Ulinzi’s best chance just three minutes later when he headed wide with Sofapaka keeper Mathias Kigonya way off his line. Ulinzi’s holder of the armband, Geoffrey Kokoyo, also had his head burried on his hands after he booted wide while unmarked inside the area.
Chances, at premium during the opening half of the first half, were coming in plenty on the other half.
Omar Mbongi was left grateful to his keeper when his attempted header almost led to an own goal, the keeper making a save that had him crash his body against the post.
The final chance of the half fell on Dennis Odhiambo’s feet but his slashed effort went just wide.
After the resumption, Sofapaka hit the post via substitute Michael Oduor who had earlier on also tested Jacktone Odhiambo.
Dennis Odhiambo meanwhile cleared Nandwa’s header off the line as both sides pushed for the difference maker.
Waruru, playing against his former employers, thought he had made the difference when he sent a free-kick at Odhiambo’s near post but the keeper got there just in time to push it out for a fruitless corner.
A barren draw looked in the offing until Waruru came to the party, beating Mbongi and Kokoyo with a couple of stepovers before crossing the ball to Kasumba who just couldn’t miss, and didn’t.
John Baraza’s Sofapaka are back to second on 43 points, one better than Bandari but 13 behind runaway leaders Gor Mahia. The Soldiers are fifth on 38 points.
In other matches, Zoo Kericho stunned hosts Kariobangi Sharks 2-1, the same scoreline AFC Leopards won with against Mathare United at the Machakos Stadium.
Sony Sugar collected an emphatic 3-1 win over Thika United while Wazito FC held Nzoia Sugar to a barren draw.
By Steve Ayoo (@Steifmaster88)