Sofapaka Edge Mathare In Five Goal Thriller
The lads fell 2-3 at the hands of Sofapaka in a fiercely contested league match played at the Kenyatta Stadium.
Kepha Aswani opened the scoring in the 9th minute with a towering header before Francis Omondi levelled from the spot in the 20th. Elli Asieche then restored the hosts' lead with a well taken penalty just before the break.
Moments after the restart, Piston Mutamba rounded Okello for Sofapaka's third but their lead was later reduced by Alphonce Ndonye through a rasping drive.
A late surge from the boys could not salvage at least a point as Sofapaka held onto their slim advantage.
Mathare United came into this tie with high hopes of reclaiming second spot with a victory and head coach Francis Kimanzi paraded his finest with Johnstone Omurwa returning from suspension to partner skipper George Owino at the heart of defence.
John Mwangi and David Owino were also recalled yet it was Sofapaka who started brightly with Kepha Aswani forcing David Okello to a reflex save at his near post.
On the other end, Chrispin Oduor guided his low finish narrowly off target after being played through by Cliff Nyakeya.
Then the breakthrough arrived moments later from Aswani who rose high in the box to connect to Elli Asieche’s delivery from a freekick and beat Okello with a solid header at the bottom left corner.
That was his last piece of action as he limped out injured with Teddy Osok replacing him at the quarter hour mark.
A rare mistake from Dennis Odhiambo handed the visitors a lifeline after the Kenyan international blocked Cliff Nyakeya’s cross with his hand inside the box. Referee Anthony Ogwayo pointed to the spot and Francis Omondi made no mistake sending Wycliffe Kasaya the wrong way to draw his side level.
Mutamba thought he had restored Sofapaka’s lead at the half hour mark but his well taken freekick was matched by a one hand save from a full stretch Okello. Then a lapse of concentration from David Owino swung the tide Batoto Ba Mungu’s way.
The diminutive left back played a poor back pass that was read by Mutamba who got to the ball before an onrushing Okello and he was tripped. The resultant penalty was converted by Asieche to ensure they went to the break leading.
Kimanzi summoned the creative mind of Ndonye at the restart to replace an off colour Roy Okal yet the storm never abated. Mutamba pounced on a loose ball in the area after a mistake from George Owino and with only Okello to beat he kept his cool, rounded him and guided the ball to an empty net.
Mutamba turned provider for strike partner Stephen Waruru shortly after the hour but the latter blasted wide from close range.
A moment of delight for Kimanzi came in the 63rd minute when his substitutes Chris Ochieng’ and Ndonye combined to half the deficit. Ochieng’ picked out Ndonye with a pass just outside the box. He lifted his head high as if to cross the ball to a yellow shirt in the box but he deceived Kasaya to rifle home at his near post.
A nervy ending saw Samuel Olwande and David Owino come close to getting the equalizer but Sofapaka survived both scares to seal the win.
Man of the match: Cliff Nyakeya
The loss leaves us at fourth place with 34 points, albeit provisionally pending other Round 22 results.
Starting XI: 18. David Okello (GK) 16. David Owino 25. Samuel Olwande 6. George Owino (C) 19.Johnstone Omurwa 22. Roy Okal (46’ 8. Alphonce Ndonye) 5. Francis Omondi (78’ 20. Martin Ongori) 29. Chrispin Oduor 11. Cliff Nyakeya 13.John Mwangi (63’ 9. Chris Ochieng’) 21. Clifford Alwanga
Unused Subs: 30. Job Ochieng’ (GK) 28. James Situma 10.Ahmed Ahmad 15.Ronald Reagan