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REFEREES DOMINATE DRAMATIC KPL WEEK: Mathare left fuming and Gor Mahia seething over taxmen's antics

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | July 19th 2016
Mathare United's Whyvonne Isuza, right, challenges AFC Goalie Ian Otieno and Edwin Wafula during KPL match at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday, July 16, 2016. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

It was a dramatic weekend full of surprises, disappointments and only two wins registered in the eight matches of round 18 of the Kenyan Premier League as the battle for both the title and relegation survival slowly gains momentum.

All top four teams (Tusker, Gor Mahia, Mathare United and Ulinzi Stars) were held to frustrating draws, with the bottom teams also sharing the spoils in their respective matches that saw a total of 14 goals scored on Saturday and Sunday.

Without doubt, Sunday’s clash between Tusker and Chemelil Sugar that ended in a 2-2 draw was the stand-out match of the weekend. Substitute Allan Wanga thought he had won the match for the brewers deep into stoppage time on his second debut only for his celebrations to be cut short by an ever-green Chemelil midfielder Hillary Echesa’s equaliser on restart.

However, the draw didn’t affect Tusker’s position on the log as they are still at the top with 36 points, five points ahead of champions Gor Mahia, who leapfrogged Mathare United into second position courtesy of goal superiority. Gor were restricted to a frustrating goalless draw against Ushuru at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.

Gor Mahia fans expected their team to take advantage of the early kick-off stalemate in Machakos and narrow the gap at the top, but that never came to pass as Ken Kenyatta and his boys had other plans for the Green Army.

But it was Ushuru’s time-wasting tactics and referee Joshua Ashira’s dubious calls in the AFC Leopards and Mathare United game that saw Kepha Aswani net a controversial equaliser for AFC that were the main talking points.

It is here that both Gor Mahia assistant coach Tom Ogweno and Mathare United coach Francis Kimanzi were left fuming.

“It is very unfortunate that we still have teams that employ such tactics. Football is a game to enjoy not for players to lie on the pitch feigning injuries,” Ogweno told Feverpitch. “Such antics are a disgrace to Kenyan football. Anyway, we just have to accept the result and focus on our next match.”

“Everybody saw it; we have been robbed and we cannot be happy with the results. We gave our best and I think they (AFC) didn’t deserve a point. It is disappointing to drop points in such a way. But we have to accept the result,” said a furious Kimanzi of Mathare United.

However, it was a relief for coach David Ouma as relegation-threatened Sofapaka ended their six-game losing streak after battling to a 1-1 draw with Kakamega Homeboyz in Mumias as Nairobi City Stars held Ulinzi Stars by the same scoreline.

Muhoroni Youth and Sony Sugar were the only teams that bagged maximum points after beating visiting Posta Rangers (2-1) and Bandari (1-0) respectively.

The victories saw Muhoroni go level on points (28) with fourth-placed Ulinzi as Sony moved up to ninth with the same points as Homeboyz (23).

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