Late Asike goal sinks Thika
Former Kenyan Premier League champions Sofapaka eked out a 1-0 win over visiting Thika United in the two sides’ league opener at the Nairobi City Stadium on Sunday.
The only goal of the game came from the unlikeliest of sources late into the game, on 82 minutes, after Sofapaka had dominated proceeding all afternoon; Eugene Asike overlapped well to poke in Koko Manopi’s cross after a goal mouth melee with the visiting defence slow to clear a loose ball.
Some level of rustiness could be seen from both sides as the game kicked off but Sofapaka proved a cut above Thika United with some good defending – though the visitors should take some plaudits for disciplined defending to keep the rampant hosts at bay.
Sofapaka should have gone ahead after 36 minutes as Titus Mulama sought to capitalise on Dirkir Glay’s poor clearance but his well powered header from distance could only hit the bar.
John Baraza’s follow up missed the target by inches with Thika goalkeeper Lucas Indeche nowhere to be seen. Three minutes later the pacy Obadiah Tarumbwa curled in a beautiful free-kick but Indeche managed to block it and Glay’s punt completed the clearance under pressure from John Baraza.
Five minutes after the break Thika United initiated a counter attack involving Francis Kahata and David Kingatua but the final delivery from Freeman Mulbah was too weak and Duncan Ochieng gathered it easily.
Eugene Asike then stayed upfront and it duly paid off when Dirkir Glay helped the ball on to a Koko Manopi who crossed into the area and Asike capitalized.
The best chance of the game for Thika United came in stoppage time as Francis Kahata was put well through by Wycliffe Opondo but his shot was straight at Duncan Ochieng who smothered it calmly.