Friday, June 17, 2011

Post Match: Mathare Utd (A)

Leopards lost 1-0 against Mathare United.

The KPL website reports:-

A MATHARE United side full of young pretenders beat an equally experimental AFC Leopards selection 1-0 in Kenyan Premier League at the National Stadium on Thursday night.

Determination of two sides going through a testing period produced a thrilling match. Both were desperate for points but it was the Mathare, languishing in the relegation zone, who were rewarded with vital three points to push up the table to 13th place. Leopards are now 10th.

It was very fitting that the most competent player of the evening, Mathare United’s Kenya midfield trialist Kevin Kimani, scored that brilliant match winning goal in the 13th minute.
From the right flank, rookie Jesse Were ingeniously back-heeled a pass to Innocent Mutiso, who raced for the corner flag before striking the cross into the Leopards box. It did not find the waiting Kevin “Dugary” Omondi, but instead, defender Edgar Waudo who cut it off to fall perfectly on the path of Kimani. A gloriously blast into the net went past a helpless Leopards’ ‘keeper Barnabas Tiema.

Evidence of the two teams’ lack of playing depth and forecast of a struggling season was in the pre-match team sheet. “Lightweight” was written all over the two squads.

Kimani is a promising player but he is no “old warrior”, a tag remotely fitting only captain Anthony Kimani, Lloyd Wahome and ‘keeper Joseph Ruto in the Mathare United line-up. For Leopards, skipper Nicholas Muyoti, albeit perhaps over the hill, and two-season defender, Martin Imbalambala, were the only experienced players.

But that is the personnel the two sides have to make with for the rest of the season, barring some serious buying in the current mid-season transfer window trading.

The teams, did however, give it their all. Defender John Odhiambo Ongoro, midfielder Elvis Nandwa and Were were the freshest faces in the Mathare side. Waudo, Abraham Cockie, Augustine Etemesi, Emmanuel Tostao, Brian Masiolo and Silas Aluvisia displayed the sweeping changes Leopards have just witnessed after the departure of virtually all its regular side.

Masiolo was, however the first to cause worries for Mathare. He was high in the air in the seventh minute, reaching for the ball under the challenge of Ongoro and ‘keeper Ruto which resulted in a crash of bodies and Ruto coming off worst, enough to take a pause to ease his pain.

In the ninth minute, Were put Mutiso through on the left wing, but the winger’s shot travelled right across the face of goal without finding a Mathare yellow shirt to guide it in.
After Kimani’s goal, Leopards responded by raising the tempo of their raids, putting Mathare severely on the back-foot. Before the break, Wahome had to clear a ball from the line as it headed for goal.

Leopards were strongly off the blocks after the break. Inside the first minute they had a ball, floated into the box being, and brilliantly headed past beleaguered Mathare defenders and into the net. But the final executor, Masiolo was marginally beyond the off-side line when the delivery was made.

Ruto pulled off a good save again from Masiolo in the 48th minute. In the 81st minute, it was the turn of the efficient Wahome to clear by the post, another Leopards’ goal-bound ball. Concerted, frantic all-out defending by the Mathare midfield and backline barely enabled them survive in the last quarter of an hour.

But, however, it was a Mathare man, Were, who had the last real of opportunity to score when in a 90th minute counter-attack, he travelled from the middle of the pitch and managed to arrive alone in the Leopards’ box with only Tiema to beat. The ‘keeper, however managed to narrow the angle and drive Were’s kick round the upright for a corner.

It was Mathare’s first victory in nine matches, their last league success dating back to April 10 when they beat Karuturi Sport 3-0.

“I am very happy. It was a long time coming,” said United coach Salim Ali. “Getting three points helps to lift the morale.”

Referring to the selection of rookies he has to make do with in this year’s campaign Ali added: “They were great; lots of courage and show of character. At times we made mistakes but they are definitely graduating… we are getting somewhere.”

He concluded: “This releases a lot of pressure before our next game against Bandari [in Nairobi]. If we win that one too, it will be good before the start of the second leg of the season.”

Nick Yakhama of Leopards said: “First I must thank the lads because they really fought all way. That was fantastic attacking football. Once you are a goal down you just have to attack.

“I brought in two more strikers to replace midfielders because that was the only option left. We kept on going forward, looking for the goal, but we were unlucky.”

MATHARE UNITED - 1. Joseph Ruto: 13. Athman Buki (26. Edwin Oduor, 90’), 18. John Odhiambo Ongoro, 15. Anthony Kimani (captain), 17. Lloyd Wahome, 4. Dennis Nzomo, 19. Elvis Nandwa, 22. Kevin Kimani, 21. Kevin “Dugary” Omondi (12. Tirus Omondi, 67’), 25. Jesse Were, 11. Innocent Mutiso (2. Kevin Omogi, 80’)
Reserves not used - 30. Malcolm Barnaba, Gk; 7. Vincent Okelo, 29. Andrew Tololwa, 23. Kevin Opiyo
Scorer - 22. Kevin Kimani (13’)
Coach - Salim Ali

AFC LEOPARDS - 19. Barnabas Tiema: 13. Edgar Waudo, 5. Edwin Wafula, 4. Martin Imbalambala, 3. John Amboko, 23. Abraham Cockie (10. Joseph Okumu, 68’), 12. Augustine Etemesi (8. Laurent Tumba, 60’), 6. Nicholas Muyoti, captain (22. Bernard Mang'oli, 60’), 21. Emmanuel Tostao, 7. Brian Masiolo, 14. Silas Aluvisia
Reserves not used - 1. Patrick Matasi, Gk; 33. John Shamala, 18. Salim Khamis, 20. Shaban Abdulrama
Coach - Nick Yakhama
Referee - Raphael Nduati
Assistant ref - Mike Mwangi
Asst ref - Moses Waswa
Reserve ref - Davies Omweno
Match commissioner - James Maranga

MichezoAfrika reports:-

Mathare United ended a streak of poor result with a deserved 1-0 win over AFC leopards in an entertaining Kenyan Premier League match played at the Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday evening.

Mathare United's Kevin Kimani goal in the 28th minute proved the killer punch after a defensive mix-up by AFC Leopards. Kimani’s goal also marked the 200th goal of the Kenyan Premier League this season.

After going down 0-1 in the first half, AFC came back in the second period a wounded leopard camping in the Mathare half but luck did not knock home for the Yakhama boys despite mounting attack after attack.

Mathare United coach Salim Ali while speaking after the match praised the performance of AFC Leopards terming their fighting spirit as an admirable spectacle.

“They were unlucky today, they played so well in the second half but I thank God for the points we gathered today” He said.

AFC Leopards’ coach Nick Yakhama on his side blamed poor finishing on the loss but has promised to introduce some new players in the squad by the end of next week.

"Today was a bad day for us. We missed many open chances and our finishing was poor. We are in talks with some clubs and soon enough we shall unveil our new players who will add strength in our squad.” Said Yakhama.

The win gives coach Salim a temporal relief as his side moved from the second bottom position to the 13th position in the KPL table Standings.

The Standard in a report by Bismarck Mutahi says:-

Mathare United coach Salim Ali is a happy man though not relieved. But his AFC Leopards counterpart Nick Yakhama must be thinking the world is against him, as he cannot get a winning formula. 

Ali was grateful to Harambee Stars midfielder Kevin Kimani, whose lone strike in the 27th minute at the Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday night was enough to lift the Slum Boys off the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) chopping board.

"I can say I’m happy, but still not relieved as we still have some work to do in the next matches," Ali said during the post- match press conference.

On his part Yakhama said he was happy with the way his team played though they didn’t get the three points and focus was now on the next match against Sofapaka on June 29.

Both coaches went into the match needing a morale boosting win, but Ali’s cause was not helped as he had to draft 17-year-old Elvis Nandwa in his starting eleven what with the many first team players on the treatment table.
As if that was not enough, his attack was left to another youngster Jesse Were who is only playing in his first season in the pressure cooker that is the KPL. 

Were was supported in attack by a holding midfielder in Kevin Omondi, with Andrew Tololwa only fit for the bench while another experienced striker Kevin Ouma could only watch from the stands alongside Simon Mburu, Jacob Keli and first choice keeper Martin Musalia.

On his part, Yakhama was boosted by the return of inspirational defender Martin Imbalambala, but did not have the opportunity to field the likes of Ugandan import Jimmy Bageya, whose move from City Stars is still in the boardroom.

It was Mathare, however, who settled faster in the match although the first chance fell to Leopard’s Silas Aluvisia in the second minute, but his indecision in the box cost him and Mathare cleared the danger.The Mathare centre backs of captain Anthony Kimani and Llyod Wahome were called into action once again in the seventh minute when goalkeeper Joseph Ruto misjudged a cross from Augustine Etemesi from Leopards left wing, but Wahome was on hand to clear the ball off the line.

Mathare, who were now bossing the midfield with youngster Nandwa outstanding in the centre alongside Dennis Nzomo got their chance to go ahead in the 13th minute only for Kevin Kimani to shootwide with only goalkeeper Barnabas Tiema to beat after being put through on goal by Omondi.Before that Aluvisia had won a corner for Leopards off the boot of Athman Buki with Emmanuel Tostao blazing his shot over the bar.

Mathare’s goal, however, arrived in the 27th minute after a move that involved Nzomo, Omondi, Innocent Mutiso and Kevin Kimani.

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