Elvis Rupia ended his four-match goal drought in the FKF Premier League as AFC Leopards beat relegation-threatened Mathare United 1-0 at Ruaraka Grounds on Thursday to go level on points (36) with leaders KCB.
It was the same scoreline in Mumias where Clifton Miheso’s strike on the stroke of halftime inspired Gor Mahia to a win over Vihiga United. The victory saw K’Ogalo take their points tally to 28 and leapfrog Bandari into the fifth spot.
At Ruaraka, it took only eight minutes for the Kenyan international to break the deadlock after pouncing on a Caleb Olilo’s pass to take his goals tally to 12, two behind current top scorer Erick Kapaito (Kariobangi Sharks).
Both teams had to finish the game with ten men after David Ochieng (Mathare) and Collins Sichenje were both red carded. But it is Ochieng, who was the first to be given an early shower after he was shown a straight red card for elbowing Rupia in the 77th minute.
Sichenje followed suit deep into the stoppage time after receiving a second yellow card following a reckless challenge on his opponent.
The former Green Commandos midfielder’s red card came barely two minutes after he had missed header from Rupia’s delivery. He becomes a second AFC Leopards player to be sent off since restart after Isaac Kipyegon was red carded in their barren draw against Posta Rangers.
Though disappointed with Sichenje’s red card, AFC coach Patrick Aussems was pleased with Rupia’s performance, who had last scored way back in February in their 2-1 victory against Kakamega Homeboyz.
“As a striker, he (Rupia) needs to score and when he doesn’t score even if he makes a good job he feels a bit frustrated. I’m happy for Elvis because he didn’t get a lot of opportunities, but the only one he got he scored,” said Aussems.
“We had a lot of opportunities but we could score a second goal. In general, we missed efficiency upfront. We are playing well, but unfortunately, we are not able to kill off such games. Anyway, we were looking for the three points and we got them.
“Kipyegon is out, Collins is out as well but I have other players that I will use against Bidco United on Sunday.”