SportPesa Cup Kings Sharks, Log Leaders Mathare Battle To Stalemate

Jan 30 - by Louis Kalinga for SportPesa News

Slum Derby fails to produce goals at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani as front runners open up six point gap at the summit

CLOSE CONTROL: Kariobangi Sharks FC striker, Duke Abuya (right) in action against Mbao FC in the second 2019 SportPesa Cup semi final at the Main National Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on January 25, 2019. PHOTO/SPN

  • Although the fixture christened ‘Slum Derby’ failed to provide the goals, Mathare left Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani with a hefty six-point lead at the top of the SportPesa Premier League after closest rivals Bandari FC crashed 0-4 away to Kakamega Homeboyz FC
  • An online ‘Tweef’ between the clubs before the contest threw a spanner in the works setting the stage for a furious contest that in the end of the day, fizzled out to the result that left Sharks fifth on 15 points, nine adrift of the leaders with a game in hand
  • A raft of substitutions failed to make any impact of note until the last minute of normal time when Sharks made strong appeals for a penalty after their substitute forward; Sydney Lokale went down in the box under the challenge of Omurwa

NAIROBI, Kenya- Freshly-minted SportPesa Cup champions Kariobangi Sharks FC marked their return to local football by sweating out a barren draw against league leaders Mathare United FC in a result that left both teams unbeaten in the competition.

Although the fixture christened ‘Slum Derby’ failed to provide the goals, Mathare left Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani with a hefty six-point lead at the top of the SportPesa Premier League after closest rivals Bandari FC crashed 0-4 away to Kakamega Homeboyz FC.

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With the unbeaten start to the season also at stakes, Sharks arrived at Kasarani buoyed by their heroics in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania where they outmuscled Bandari FC 1-0 last Sunday lift the trophy during the third edition of the SP Cup.

Mathare of the other hand are slowly but surely shaping up as the team to beat as they hunt only their second ever league title following their 2008 triumph under head coach Francis Kimanzi who led them to glory 11 seasons ago.

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An online ‘Tweef’ between the clubs before the contest threw a spanner in the works setting the stage for a furious contest that in the end of the day, fizzled out to the result that left Sharks fifth on 15 points, nine adrift of the leaders with a game in hand.

The contest opened with a scare for the frontrunners when top marksman, Cliff Nyakeya, collapsed into a heap, causing a slight delay and when play got underway, Mathare threatened first in the 12th minute when David Owino found the upright with a thunderous shot.

Although the fixture christened ‘Slum Derby’ failed to provide the goals, Mathare left Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani with a hefty six-point lead at the top of the SportPesa Premier League after closest rivals Bandari FC crashed 0-4 away to Kakamega Homeboyz FC.

Two minutes later, James Kinyanjui sent in a teasing cross into the danger area but Nyakeya’s header went over the bar with Sharks deploying a counter in the 18th that finished with Vincent Wasambo firing wide after ex-Mathare winger and SP Cup final goal-scoring hero, Harrison Mwendwa, set him through on goal.

The SportPesa Shield domestic cup winners had the ball in the net minutes later after a clever free-kick only to ruled offside before Wasambo wasted another great opportunity for coach William Muluya’s side when his shot was deflected off target by Johnston Omurwa in the 26th. 

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Duke Abuya who scored twice in Dar during their sensational 3-2 victory over Yanga SC was unlucky not to score when he found the goal furniture twice first from connecting with a Patillah Omotto corner and in the 38th, from a terrifying counter.

Weighted pass

It all started when Mwendwa found striker George Abege with a weighted pass of high quality who in turn fed his overlapping strike partner but to his dismay and that of his Sharks teammates and technical bench, Abuya saw his finish cannon off the post.

Mathare were relieved to go level on the break and after Francis Kimanzi’s half time pep talk, the Slum Boys fashioned the opening chance of the closing stanza in the 49th through Alphonce Ndonye but the effort did not have enough to bother John Oyemba in the Sharks goal.

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Kimanzi hauled off Ndonye and replaced him with Chris Ochieng’ two switch to two strikers upfront before Sharks suffered the blow of losing their star Mwendwa in the 54th with James Mazembe coming on in his place.

A raft of substitutions failed to make any impact of note until the last minute of normal time when Sharks made strong appeals for a penalty after their substitute forward; Sydney Lokale went down in the box under the challenge of Omurwa.

The referee waved play on to gasps from some of the supporters gathered and seconds later, the result was confirmed.

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