Mathare United produced a remarkable comeback to edge Sony Sugar 2-1 at the Awendo Green Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a Round 7 league match. For Francis Kimanzi this result gave the impression that his side could be the de facto king of comebacks.
Yema Mwana opened the scoring in the 20th minute in controversial fashion before the boys showed character to snatch the equalizer and grab the lead.
Clifford Alwanga restored parity in the 37th with a thumping header and moments later Chrispin Oduor gave the Slum Boys the lead with a cheeky lob over Kelvin Omondi.
It was the kind of reaction Kimanzi wanted having surrendered a two goal lead to lose 3-4 to AFC Leopards last time out.
A slow burner encounter came to life in the 11th minute when Alwanga sneaked between the Sony Sugar center backs, Alfred Onyango and Martin Werunga, but his diving header squirmed over the bar after connecting to Oduor’s cross from the left.
Moments later, Cliff Nyakeya worked the ball to Alwanga through David Owino from a short corner but Onyango heroically cleared the danger from the teasing cross with Alwanga lurking behind him.
Then the breakthrough that this tie deserved arrived albeit on the wrong end. Benjamin Mosha played a quick give and go with George Abege at the edge of the box. As he looked to pounce on the return pass which was clipped over the Mathare back line by Abege, Yema Mwana shanked a low drive past Kasaya from a clear offside position.
Center referee Collins Opiyo posed for a while but with no flag from second assistant Beatrice Achieng’ the goal stood. After a minute of protests from skipper George Owino and several white shirts, the game resumed. Advantage Sony Sugar!!!
Edward Seda thought he had levelled the scores after being picked out by an overlapping Samuel Olwande but he could not keep his header down. As the clock ticked past the half hour mark, the lads piled pressure on the Millers and their bubble finally burst.
It was Alwanga who clinched the equalizer, a rocket header past Kelvin Omondi after a fluid counter attack released Olwande on the left who delivered the most teasing of crosses into the area.
The pressure went a notch higher and Oduor tipped the impetus the visitors’ direction shortly afterwards. Kelvin Omondi was forced to send the ball out of play after a high pressing regime left him with no passing options.
Alwanga took the resultant throw in quickly to set Oduor clean through on goal. He waylaid Werunga as he stepped into the box and with only Omondi to beat he showed great composure to lob the ball into an empty net.
Normally anger follows a first goal conceded, disappointment a second but these emotions did nothing to dampen the hosts’ resolve at the restart. Mwana was unlucky to see his header crash on the crossbar after Bernard Omondi found him with a sumptuous cross from the right.
On the other end, Nyakeya broke free leaving Samuel Olare in his wake but he scuffed his shot with only Omondi to beat.
Both coaches made changes with Kimanzi introducing Roy Okal for Oduor while Salim Babu replaced Mosha with Daniel Otieno. Bernard Omondi thought he had provided a smidgeon of hope from nothing but his adventurous dipping effort caught Kasaya napping but landed on the roof of the net.
Another tactical bout ensued moments later with Frederick Onyango coming in for David Simiyu and Francis Omondi withdrawn for Chris Ochieng’. The tide swung the hosts’ way as they dominated possession in the last quarter.
There was a late scare as Kasaya raced off his line to gather a dangerous cross from Clinton Omondi but he failed to gather cleanly. The loose ball was however hacked to safety and the final whistle confirmed the three points.
The win leaves us at fourth place with 14 points, two behind league leaders Gor Mahia who have a game in hand.
Starting XI: 18. Wycliffe Kasaya (GK) 16. David Owino 25. Samuel Olwande 6. George Owino (C) 19. Johnstone Omurwa 5. Francis Omondi (71’ 9. Chris Ochieng’) 4. Edward Seda 29. Chrispin Oduor (55’22. Roy Okal) 11. Cliff Nyakeya 13. John Mwangi 21. Clifford Alwanga (86’ 10. Ahmed Ahmad)
Unused Subs: 1. Robert Mboya (GK) 28. Gilbert Osonga 2. Daniel Mwaura