MACHAKOS, Kenya- AFC Leopards SC made it three wins in a row under the tutelage of caretaker coach Dennis Kitambi and moved up to second in the Kenya Premier League (KPL) table after a 3-2 victory over 10-man Wazito FC on Wednesday afternoon.
The five-goal thriller played at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos was initially set to be played on the second match-day of the season but was postponed due to Leopards involvement in the CAF Confederations Cup preliminary round against Fosa Juniors FC of Madagascar.
Leopards were awarded a penalty for a chance to take the lead but Wazito keeper; Phillip Odhiambo was up for the challenge when he brilliantly tipped Ezekiel Odera’s effort over the cross bar to keep the game goalless.
Wazito took a deserved lead, punishing Ingwe for the penalty miss through Pistone Mutamba after a goalkeeping error from Jairus Adira allowed the lanky forward to head the ball into an empty net.
New signing Odera who has been Leopards star performer so far this season, scoring three goals before today’s fixture, proved to be that man for Kitambi’s charges yet again when he atoned for the earlier miss with an audacious overhead kick that crept into the bottom left corner to level the scores at 1-1.
Three minutes into the second half, it seemed to be going in Leopards favour as Brian Ayacko was sent-off for a second bookable offence after a hefty challenge on Simon Mburu.
Mburu then whipped in a teasing ball from the resultant free-kick which Odera beat the keeper to and lofted the ball to Whyvonne Isuza’s path to hand him the easy task of heading the ball into an empty net, giving Leopards a 2-1 lead.
However, a brilliant counter from Frank Ouna’s charges cut short their opponents celebration as Joe Waithira broke away and squared the ball for Mutamba to tap in and complete his brace.
The match continued to provide plenty of good chances with free flowing passes from either side, ensuring that the crowd at the Kenyatta Stadium were in for a thrilling final third of the game.
With 12 minutes left in the game, Leopards were handed another chance to kill off the game as the referee pointed to the spot yet again for a foul on Nabwire inside the area.
Victor Majid stepped up to take the spot kick but Odhiambo was impressive yet again as he saved a second penalty of the game, though the Majid effort was a tame one and straight at him, much to the elation of his teammates.
Isuza was to have the final word as he scored his second goal of the game after a deep cross from Odera picked out Nabwire who chested the ball down and poked it towards Isuza who calmly slotted past Odhiambo, giving Ingwe a 3-2 lead.
The win takes Leopards to second, three points shy of leaders Gor Mahia whilst Wazito remain in 14th place with five points from the opening six matches.