AFC Leopards coach Thomas Trucha made a winning debut in the FKF-Premier League (FKF-PL) as Ingwe beat Tusker 2-1 in Saturday’s opening match of the season at Kasarani Stadium.
Captain Robinson Kamura cancelled out South Sudanese striker David Majak’s opener in the 26th minute before Elvis Rupia scored from the spot in the 34th minute to give the Czech a perfect welcome to the den.
Leopards should have won by a much bigger margin but their profligacy in front of goal cost them with Rupia and Marvin Nabwire the main culprits in a match that both teams observed a minute of silence in honour of the departed Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.
In Mombasa, Abdallah Hassan’s first half goal is all that Bandari needed to silence Sofapaka as ten-man Kakamega Homeboyz saw off Vihiga United by a similar score line in Mumias.
Ingwe started off the brighter side with Rupia and Clyde Senaji forcing fine saves from Rwandan goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure in the early proceedings.
Mvuyekure first stopped Rupia’s effort in the fifth minute before tipping Senaji’s close range shot over the bar.
Luke Namanda almost broke the deadlock for Tusker in the 19th minute but the former Nzoia Sugar man’s attempt at the edge of the box went wide before Rupia failed to connect Nabwire’s delivery from the right channel on the opposite end.
Leopards were punished in the 22nd minute when Hashim Sempala dispossessed Said Tsuma in the midfield before releasing through Majak, who made no mistake to slot the ball past the advancing goalkeeper John Oyemba.
The hosts responded immediately but Nabwire was denied by the keeper before Owiti’s shot went inches wide of the right post.
But after a series of raids, Kamura drew level after he easily tapped in Austin Odhiambo’s delivery from the left flank.
Leopards continued attacking and could have taken the lead on the half hour mark but Rupia tapped Isaac Kipyegon’s perfectly executed cross wide following a brilliant build-up.
Rupia finally got on the score sheet from the spot in the 34th minute after Tusker defender Eugene Asike handled the ball in the box.
Tusker came back into the second half a more rejuvenated side pilling more pressure on Leopards backline searching for an equaliser.
Oyemba had to come off his line in the 51st minute to Chrispinus Onyango from scoring before Rupia hit the side-netting on the opposite end. Rupia had another chance to score a brace but the former Power Dynamos striker was superbly denied by Mvuyekure.
Robert Matano’s men then earned a free kick in a promising position after Kamura fouled Boniface Muchiri but Sammy Meja’s effort went wide Mvuyekure pulled off another perfect save to stop Jaffari Owiti’s cheeky header from Kipyegon’s corner kick.
In Mombasa, Hassan Abdalla’s 24th minute goal was the difference as Bandari narrowly beat Sofapaka 1-0 at Mbaraki Sports Club.
Kepha Aswani thought he had snatched a point for the former champions only for his 65th minute header to be ruled out for offside.
While Bandari coach Ken Odhiambo was pleased with his side’s performance, Sofapaka’s John Baraza blamed poor defending for the defeat.
“We played well and hope to have a good season ahead, ” said Odhiambo
“We were punished because of a single defensive mistake. We had more scoring chances, which we did not utilize,” lamented Baraza.
The wait is finally over as the 2020/2021 Football Kenya Federation-Premier League (FKF-PL) season kicked off today! ????
Full-time scores on Saturday:
Vihiga United 0-1 Kakamega Homeboyz
Bandari 1-0 Sofapaka
AFC Leopards 2-1 Tusker