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AFC break jinx: Jackson Saleh scores to help AFC end 16-year wait edging Tusker 1-0 at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos

BY Bosco  Magare, Ben Ahgenda and Rodgers Eshitemi

AFC Leopards’ Allan Wanga shields the ball from Tusker’s Lloyd Wahome
during their KPL match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos yesterday.

AFC Leopards finally broke their 16-year jinx against Tusker beating the brewers 1-0 in a Kenyan Premier League match, at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos yesterday.

This was Leopards’ third win of the season and their first against Tusker since 1998, the year they lifted their last league title. Jackson Saleh’s thumping header in the 26th minute from a Juma Abdallah’s free-kick was enough to hand Francis Kimanzi’s men their third defeat in a row.

“The KPL title is ours to lose. We’ve broken the jinx. We last beat Tusker in 1998 and went ahead to win the league and now it’s happened again,” said a jubilant AFC chairman Allan Kasavuli.

As expected, the match started on a high tempo with Leopards taking the game to the visitors.

Musa Mudde saw his shot in the second minute go wide before Ingwe keeper Patrick Matasi saved Joshua Oyoo’s attempt from Luke Ochieng’s throw-in.

Leopards could have opened the scores in the eighth minute, but Eric Masika wasted a clear-cut chance from close range after the brewers failed to clear a corner.

In the 20th minute, experienced midfielder Osborne Monday should have put the Ruaraka-based side ahead but his curved shot missed the target by inches before Saleh unleashed a powerful header to take his campaign tally to three.

Close call

Moments later, Matasi was forced to come of his line to claim Oyoo’s dangerous cross beforeTusker custodian Samuel Odhiambo denied Bernard Mang’oli from close range as Leopards went into the break leading.

A few minutes after restart, Ingwe suffered an injury blow as Matasi was stretched off with Wycliffe Kasaya replacing him before Eric Masika made a goal-line clearance from Khalid Aucho’s strike.

The brewers piled pressure and they could have scored in the 70th minute, but Kasaya kept Leopards in the game saving Alwanga’s effort before denying Jesse Were in the box.

Allan Wanga had a chance to double the lead for Ingwe in the injury time after a set-up by Okwemba, but Odhiambo rescued the occasion.

In Nakuru, Ulinzi Stars registered their first Kenyan Premier League win under new tactician Robert Matano when they defeated Kenya Commercial Bank 2-1 at Afraha Stadium. Ulinzi  scored through Evans Amuoka and Kelvin Amwayi while Chrispinus Onyango netted for KCB.

Elsewhere, hosts Chemelil Sugar  whipped Thika United 2-1 to  maintain the miller’s unbeaten record and regain league pole position from Gor Mahia.

— Reports by Bosco  Magare, Ben Ahgenda and Rodgers Eshitemi

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