Mathare United’s winless streak at home was stretched to five matches after Kariobangi Sharks produced a remarkable comeback to emerge 2-1 winners in a Round 10 Kenyan Premier League match played on Tuesday 9 May at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Chrispin Oduor drew first blood for the hosts in the 28th minute before a spirited second half display from the visitors saw them claw back into the game. Four minutes after the hour mark, Bolton Omwenga volley escaped the grip of Levis Opiyo to roll into the net. Then late pressure saw them grab yet another one through Masud Juma who was a constant threat to the Slum Boys all afternoon.
Both sides came into this match on the back of contrasting fortunes from their previous outings with Kariobangi Sharks having won 2-0 convincingly against Sony Sugar while Mathare United registered a 1-0 loss against Bandari.
However the Slum Boys drew inspiration from the returning head coach Francis Kimanzi who was returning to the touchline after serving a four match suspension. His presence did not seem to bother Kariobangi Sharks, who under the guidance of his protégé William Muluya, began brightly.
Masud Juma showed quick feet to get the better of Lennox Ogutu inside the box but the youngster recovered to block his shot for a corner. The clearance from the resultant corner was poorly done hardly getting past the 18 yard box. Bolton Omwenga picked the loose ball, side-stepped Daniel Mwaura but his effort was tipped over the bar by Levis Opiyo for a fruitless corner.
Mathare United sought a reply on the other end through Alphonce Ndonye but he went for an adventurous shot on goal when spraying the ball out wide to either Cliff Nyakeya or Mwaura looked the better option. At this point, the highly paced encounter was certainly living up to its billing and Masud Juma thought he had broken the deadlock moments before the quarter hour mark but his headed goal was rightfully disallowed for offside.
Emotions ran wild as tackles and a string of missed passes reigned supreme with either side eager to get an early goal. With the half hour mark fast approaching, the only statistic lacking from this crunch tie was a goal and it finally arrived in the 28th minute.
Kenyan international Mwaura set Martin Ongori feinting towards the right byline in one of his trademark overlaps and the youngster did not disappoint. The 18 year old hit a searching cross from the inside of his right boot that was converted in acrobatic fashion by Chrispin Oduor at the back post.
Oduor could have doubled our lead shortly before the restart when Chris Ochieng’ scurried down the right flank leaving Pascal Ogweno for dead but his cutback was well read by Sharks custodian Geoffrey Oyemba with Oduor lurking just behind him.
“Mcheza kwao hutuzwa,” goes the Swahili saying and that certainly happened four minutes after the restart when Mathare United profited from Agnetta Itubo’s, the center referee, decision not to award Sharks a penalty after Elli Asieche was hacked in the box.
However four minutes later and as if to atone for her earlier mistake Itubo awarded Muluya’s charges a dubious penalty after Matthew Odongo went down easily in the area. Ogweno stepped forth to take the penalty but his effort missed the target narrowly on the right.
A goal up, a missed penalty and a handful of fans to cheer his side on from the main stand; this certainly looked like three points in the bag for Francis Kimanzi but Muluya still had a point to prove. He played his first card introducing Rodgers Omondi for Duke Abuya and the tide swung his side’s way.
A lovely passing maneuver culminated in Omwenga playing Masud clean through on goal with a delightful ball over the top. However Masud’s shot crashed onto the side netting. Shortly afterwards, another Sharks foray orchestrated by the enterprising Odongo found Omwenga in acres of space on the left. Omwenga summoned the poise to control the ball neatly before firing a venomous shot that Opiyo failed to stop and Sharks drew level.
The first half pattern resumed with end to end action taking over. Skipper George Owino sought to lead from the front but his well hit shot was a whisker away from restoring our lead in the 71st minute.
Odongo, who was making minced meat of David Mwangi on the left, was having a field day and it was no wonder when he started the move that led to the second goal for his side. The Ugandan played a quick give and go with Rodgers before racing down the right to pick out Omondi at the near post with a cleverly clipped pass.
Omondi stooped high to head the ball first time towards goal but his header bounced off the bar to fall kindly into the path of Masud who showed composure to nod in from close range despite pressure from Ongori.
In a bid to restore parity, Kimanzi made a double substitution introducing David Owino and Harrison Mwendwa for the jaded pair of Mwaura and Nyakeya. The substitutions worked well with Harry and Ochieng’ getting chances but failed to convert.
Muluya, content with his charges brave show, pulled out Elli and Masud for the fresh legs of Ibrahim Kitawi and Ovella Ochieng’ as he chose to soak pressure and pounce on the counter attack.
His game plan almost delivered an insurance goal in stoppage time when Kitawi found himself one on one with Opiyo after nice work from Ovella and Odongo but Opiyo did well to thwart him.
Following the result Mathare United is now ranked 14th on the log with 9 points, 12 behind leaders Posta Rangers. The lads will leave for Kisumu on Friday 12 May for the Round 11 match against Western Stima on Saturday.