Leopards claw Sofapaka
Allan Wanga scored the winner as AFC Leopards ended a five match winless with a 1-0 victory over Sofapaka at Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Ingwe had gone through a lean patch during which they saw their lead atop the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) evaporate as they were overtaken by Sofapaka and champions Tusker towards the end of the first leg.
But they turned things round with a lively performance in the midweek encounter to move to within one point of leaders Tusker who are on 32 points. Sofapaka remain second behind the brewers on goal difference.
For Sofapaka it was only their fourth loss of the season but they can have no complaints about it as they were decidedly second best and looked lethargic for most of the evening.
Youngster Paul Were was making his debut and he was soon in the thick of things creating a chance for Laurent Tumba in the second minute but Sofapaka keeper Duncan Ochieng made the save.
Leopards had a chance off a set piece on five minutes after Wanga was brought down but Bernard Mang’oli wafted his shot way over the bar. It would be the only blemish of an otherwise impeccable evening for the midfielder who pulled the strings in the middle of the park.
Goalkeeper Barnabas Tiema almost gifted Sofapaka the lead on 19 minutes when he fumbled an Abdallah Juma freekick but Eugene Asike headed the rebound wide from five yards.
Leopards though were the dominant side with Were forcing Juma to head his cross against his own post on 24 minutes later and on 29, Hashim Mukhwana had to be alert to clear an Edwin Wafula cross with Mike Barasa lurking in the six yard box.
The breakthrough came six minutes before halftime when Juma made hash of a clearance and were made him pay by stripping him off the ball before crossing for Wanga to tap the ball home from all of three yards.
Skipper James Situma drilled a long range freekick inches wide on 47 minutes but it was Leopards who went closest on 55 when Barasa hooked a Tumba cross goalwards only for Ochieng to come up with a fine save.
The 2009 champions could have snatched a point at the death but Humphrey Mieno’s header whistled past the upright in the first minute of added time.