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Tusker cage Leopards in Thika to move seven points clear

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango | July 16th 2021
Tusker FC’s Kevin Monyi (left) and Eugene Asike of Tusker challenged by AFC Leopards’ Peter Nga’nga’ (centre) during an FKF Premier League match at Thika Stadium on Friday, July 16, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Tusker FC on Friday opened a seven-point gap between them and second placed KCB after edging out AFC Leopards 2-0 in an entertaining FKF Premier League match played at Thika Stadium.

The win is a huge boost for Tusker towards their run to attempt to win the FKF Premier League title which they last won five years ago.

Christopher Ochieng and Chrispinus Onyango scored in either half to hand Robert Matano his 16th win of the season.

Tusker also got their revenge against Ingwe who have beaten them twice this season. Leopards clawed Tusker 2-1 in the first leg of the league last year before edging out Tusker 1-0 in the FKF Cup quarter-finals played earlier last month

The victory saw Tusker remain top and open a seven-point gap between them and second placed KCB. Tusker are top with 54 points after playing 25 matches, two more than the bankers.

On the other hand, AFC Leopards remained third with 43 points, 11 points behind the breweries who continue to increase their chances of winning the title as weeks go by.

Despite heading into the match without their six regular starters with captain Hashim Sempala Kevin Okoth, Christopher Oruchum, Luke Namanda, Boniface Muchiri and their top scorer Henry Meja, Tusker played with authority from the start and sealed all three points.

Tusker FC’s Apollo Otieno fight it out with Elvis Rupia (left) of AFC Leopards during an FKF Premier League match at Thika Stadium on Friday, July 16, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The match started on a low note with both teams playing safe to avoid conceding early.

The visitors were first off the blocks with the match’s first attempt in the fourth minute after Eugene Mukangula released Harrison Mwendwa with a long through ball but the winger sent his shot wide.

Tusker would reply moments later through former Gor Mahia star George Ogutu who skipped past Leopard’s Robert Mudenyu at the back but could not direct his shot at goal.

In the 10th minute, Christopher Ochieng bent in a cross from the left which found an unmarked Chrispinus Onyango at the edge of the six-yard box but the striker could only watch as his effort missed the target inches wide.

Six minutes later, Ochieng would hand Tusker a much deserved lead at the quarter hour mark after calmly controlling Brian Marita’s free kick delivery ball inside the box before planting the ball into the bottom right corner as the hosts lead 1-0.

The match would be stopped momentarily in the 20th minute after Ogutu went down from a heavy tackle by Mukangula.

Jackson Macharia would be recalled by Robert Matano to replace the former Gor Mahia midfielder.

Tusker FC’s Miseh Sammy (left) and Harrison Mwendwa during an FKF Premier League match at Thika Stadium on Friday, July 16, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The substitute would set up Marita moments later before the latter hit the lower right post and missed the chance to double the scores for the 2011 champions before the break.

Tusker would also miss to extend their advantage with the last real chance of the half after Rodgers Aloro's free kick was headed down to Marita on the right but his tap would be saved by Ezekiel Owade's feet in goal for Leopards.

Ingwe would bring in Hansel Ochieng for Mwendwa in the final half in an attempt to get right back into the match but it was Tusker who hit the road running after scoring five minutes into the half.

This is after Onyango easily tapped in a rebound after Owade failed to hold on to Ochieng’s close range shot.

Moments later, Brian Wanyama found un unmarked Peter Thiongo with a well cut through ball but the latter would fail to cut Tusker’s lead to one goal after failing to beat Man of the Match Emery Mvuyekure in a one on one encounter.

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