Kisumu All Stars took a huge step towards maintaining their status in the top flight after beating National Super League (NSL) side Vihiga United 2-1 on Saturday in the FKF-PL promotion playoffs first leg tie played at Mumias Sports Complex.
Willis Otenda opened the scoring for Kisumu All Stars from the spot four minutes into the match after Vihiga defender Michael Odongo brought down All Star's attacker Erick Otieno in the box.
Kisumu would have doubled their lead in the 20th minute through Otieno but Vihiga keeper Joel Bataro stood tall.
Bataro and his defence continued to wade off attacks as the first half ended with All Stars leading 1-0.
In the second half, Vihiga started on the strong foot and after numerous attacks they were rewarded with a goal with Dennis Wafula finding the equaliser in the 54th minute.
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However, their attempted comeback was thwarted a minute later after Shadrack Omondi's thunderbolt strike 20 yards from goal ensured Kisumu All Stars have the advantage heading into the second leg that will be played on Wednesday at Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
Speaking after the game, Vihiga United head coach Sammy Okoth rued missed chances and defensive mistakes.
"We had a very bad start to the game after conceding a penalty three minutes into the game. It is a start that gave the opponents the upper hand and confidence in the game which I believe we could have won, " he said.
Okoth added that they are going to work on discipline and urged his attackers to be clinical next week.
"The goals were as a result of defensive mistakes. The team needs to be disciplined next week in Kisumu and we need to have the perfect start if we are to topple them and return to the premier league," Okoth said.
His Kisumu counterpart Andrew Aroka congratulated his players for taking their chances and urged the team to keep working hard.
"The boys played well and I am very happy we got a very important away win that will play a key role in our push to stay in the top flight when we play the second leg in Kisumu next week," he said.
"Our goal remains the same. To stay in the premier league. Our focus now shifts to winning the second leg in Kisumu and preparing for the next season."
Kisumu All Stars will now play Vihiga in the second leg next week on Wednesday with the winner set to play in the 2020-2021 KPL season.