NAIROBI, Kenya- SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions Tusker FC kept their fading title charge alive after edging Mathare United FC 1-0 in a Round 25 match played at the Ruaraka Grounds on Sunday.
Lloyd Wahome scored the all-important goal of the encounter in the 78th minute with a firm header from a Danson Kago corner on the left.
The win takes the Brewers to 36 points, 14 behind league leaders Gor Mahia FC who faced Thika United FC later Sunday. Tusker have a game in hand against Bandari FC.
Both sides came into this match on the back of contrasting results in their midweek assignments; Tusker winning 2-1 against Zoo Kericho FC while Mathare lost 0-3 to Kariobangi Sharks FC.
Beleaguered George Nsimbe’s men got off to a flying start, with Allan Wanga testing Levis Opiyo with a glancing header from a Paul Odhiambo cross early on but Opiyo pulled off a great save.
Chrispin Oduor though he had broken the deadlock moments before the quarter hour mark for Mathare but his effort was correctly disallowed after Seda was penalized for fouling David Okello.
The Tusker keeper had raced off his line to gather Derrick Nzosi’s cross before he was upended.
Tusker continued pressing for the opener against the 2008 SPL champions and Odhiambo was unlucky to be denied by Opiyo’s outstretched hand from point blank range.
The forward had been put through on goal by a clever pass from Jackson Macharia but Mathare survived.
Wanga was then culpable of missing Tusker’s best chance of the half when his connection to a Collins Shivachi delivery veered narrowly off target with Opiyo well beaten.
A mundane opening stanza paved way for a more robust second half with both coaches turning to their bench to add attacking verve.
Nsimbe was first to play another hand when he withdrew Boniface Muchiri and Paul Odhiambo for Danson Kago and Stephen Owusu.
The tide swung the hosts’ way thereafter, with Wanga once again spurning a guilt edged chance when Opiyo rushed out of his goal to deny the striker in a one on one situation.
Francis Kimanzi was forced to a substitution moments later when Seda sprained his foot and was unable to continue; his place being taken up by Tyson Otieno.
Tusker continued to ask questions of the Mathare defence and Eugene Asike saw his header from Kago’s corner fly over the bar.
The lively Kago bamboozled Nzosi on the left before teeing up Humphrey Mieno for a shot at the edge of the box which was emphatically blocked by George Owino for a corner.
Then the goal that this tie deserved arrived from the resultant corner.
Kago weighted his delivery perfectly for Wahome who freed himself in the area before guiding his header into the top right corner past a hapless Opiyo.
Kimanzi’s attempt to stage a late surge proved futile as his late substitutes, Elijah Mwanzia and Brian Nyakan barely made any impact as Tusker passed the ball around to run down the clock.
At the Sudi Stadium, Nzoia Sugar FC completed a double over troubled Muhoroni Youth FC by handing them a 3-1 hiding.
Luke Namanda opened the scoring in the 10th before Lawrence Juma made it 2-0 with a superb free-kick on the half hour mark.
Maxwell Onyango pulled one back for the visitors in the 78th but Victor Omondi settled the tie as a contest three minutes later.
In an early kick off, in Kisumu, Yema Mwana’s brace fired Sony Sugar FC to a 2-1 victory over Western Stima FC who got their consolation through Robert Achema inthe first half.
In Mombasa, Bandari FC bounced back to winning ways with an emphatic 3-0 win over Zoo.
Fred Cosmas scored twice to set the tone for the rout before Noah Abich’s expertly taken freekick settled matters late on.
AFC Leopards SC settled for a barren draw with Kakamega Homeboyz at Machakos as Chemelil Sugar FC halted their recent winless run with a 2-0 win over Nakumatt FC thanks to a double from Collins Neto.