Chris Ochieng’ made good his promise of scoring against Kakamega Homeboyz as his third minute goal proved decisive in a Round 18 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match played at the Ruaraka Stadium on Wednesday 2 August.
In a day where he would have seamlessly taken the match ball home had he converted the glut of chances that came his way, Ochieng’ showed that he will be a force to reckon with in the second leg.
The lads came into this match ready to avenge the injustice in Mumias three days ago and their start was one to remember. Ronald Reagan was first to ask questions of the visitors’ defence with a searching cross into the area that Moses Chikati did well to clear. However there was no response from the second foray upfront as Chris Ochieng’ outpaced his opponents to get to Victor Ashinga’s through ball.
He still had a lot to do and fortune also favoured him. His shot, well directed towards goal, took a wicked deflection off Eric Ambunya to hand us an invaluable lead early on. Ochieng’ could have doubled his tally moments later when Chrsipin Oduor set him through on goal with a lofted pass but his effort was feeble causing David Juma no trouble at all.
Then against the run of play, the visitors almost drew level. Francis Nambute, who was on our radar in the June transfer window, pounced on a long ball over the top from Charles Momanyi before leaving George Owino in his wake. With only Wycliffe Kasaya to beat, the youngster lost his cool guiding his effort narrowly wide.
On the other end, Chris Ochieng’ was giving the Homeboyz defence a day to forget and we were unlucky not to capitalize on a goal mouth melee as Edward Seda’s effort was cleared off the line by Chikati with Juma well beaten. Moments before the half hour mark, the lively Moses Mudavadi whipped a dangerous cross across the face of goal but there was no white shirt to connect as Homeboyz wasted yet another chance to equalize.
A scrappy period of play ensued thereafter as Mike Mururi’s charges grew into the game and Lennox Ogutu was the first casualty landing into the referee’s books for a late tackle on Mudavadi. The resultant freekick was expertly taken by Eston Esiye but Kasaya matched it with a brave save.
At the restart, Chris Ochieng’ continued to torment the visitors and he was unlucky to see his shot cannon off the cross bar after creating space for himself in the box. That moment sparked some action on the Homeboyz bench as Mururi made a double substitution replacing Elias Ocheing and Ali Bai with Festo Omukoto and Wycliffe Ochomo yet it was the hosts who looked dangerous moving forward.
Five minutes later, Ochieng spurned another chance after Chrispin had done all the donkey work for him. Lennox delivered a dipping ball into the area that Chrsipin did well to chest down for Ochieng within shooting range. Ochieng hit a first time volley but his shot went agonizingly wide. Our bright start into the half was blotted at the half hour mark when Samuel Olwande was withdrawn due to injury; his place being taken up by Andrew Juma.
The tide swung the visitors’ way afterwards and the introduction of Jeremiah Wanjala helped them pile more pressure on us. Kimanzi sought defensive cover from the bench through Roy Okal who came in for Victor Ashinga. The game plan changed as we resorted to soaking pressure through a five man defence with David Owino and Derrick Nzosi playing as wingbacks while Andrew Juma, George Owino and Lennox Ogutu forming a three man central defence partnership.
As Homeboyz pinned us into our half probing for an equalizer, Chris and Chrispin remained isolated upfront as our attacking outlets on the counter. The duo got separate chances to extend our lead but they were denied by Juma. First, Chris beat the offside trap to gallop into the area but Juma came off his line to intervene. Then Chrsipin attempted to beat Juma at his near post from the resultant corner but his effort was punched to safety.
A nervy ending to the game saw Mururi’s charges camp in our half but the lads defended brilliantly to hold onto their slim lead. The win leaves us at 17th place with 16 points, one ahead of bottom placed Muhoroni Youth.
Starting XI: 18.Wycliffe Kasaya (GK) 25. Samuel Olwande (60’ 12.Andrew Juma) 21. Derrick Nzosi 6. George Owino (C) 23. Lennox Ogutu 24. Victor Ashinga (69’ 22.Roy Okal) 4.Edward Seda (90’ 13. John Mwangi) 29. Chrispin Oduor 16.David Owino 15. Ronald Reagan 9. Chris Ochieng’
Unused subs: 1. Mark Kioko (GK) 27. Tyson Otieno 11. Cliff Nyakeya 17. Elijah Mwanzia
Starting XI: 32. David Juma (GK), 7. Hedmond Mauda 15. Eric Ambunya 25.Moses Chikati 4. Charles Momanyi 39. Elias Ochieng' (50’ 6. Festo Omukoto) 2. Eston Esiye 8. Mike Khaduli 23. Moses Mudavadi 24. Ali Bai (50’ 10. Wycliffe Ochomo) 21. Francis Nambute (67’ Jeremiah Wanjala)
Unused subs: 1.Arthur Arakaza (GK), 28. Benson Mutonyi 20. George Odwiuor 14. Andrew Kulecho