Leopards beat Western Stima 1-0 with Mike Baraza scoring the winning goal. Baraza has scored in each of the last three matches he has played in.
Wilson Mathu of Futaa reports:-
AFC Leopards turned out the better side in the Western derby after winning the match against Western Stima at the Nyayo National Stadium in their mid-week game of the week. The lone goal of the match was scored by all-time prolific striker Mike Baraza.
AFC Leopards went for the attacking since early in the match as their trio set of strikers Mike Barasa, Jimmy Bageya and Salim Kinje gave a great performance. They combined well from the onset to produce the first goal in the second minute courtesy of Mike Barasa after a smartly worked out pass from Jimmy Bageya.
Western Stima staged their comeback through the midfield but the wounded Leopards kept it tight. Bageya was also fiery in the starting minutes displaying some wonderful flashes of individual brilliance. Baraza was at it again in the 15th minute but his weak right foot did him disservices by shooting wide from the edge of the area.
Mark Sirengo got the ball in as they tried to get an equalizer through Mark Sirengo in the 15th minute. First free kick of the game was in the 21st minute and was taken by Stima. Ali Bai collected the rebound but the shot on goal was weak and landed on the the Stima keeper.
Leopards dominated the midfield as they sort for the second but the stima players were up to task. Nice exchanges emanated from the Leopards midfield involving Benard Mangoli and Charles Okwemba as they outplayed their opponents in almost all departments. Mangoli appeared more comfortable in the middle spreading the ball in an attractive pattern.
Edwin Barasa was the culprit of the first yellow card in the 35th minute for a reckless tackle. In the 41st minute Bageya got a loose ball but his feeble pass to Oscar Kadenge is intercepted by the hawk eyed Stima defenders who saved the situation.
Mike Baraza slided a ball from the right flank in the dying minutes of the first half but the top scorer gave it a little too much energy and it bypassed a slow Bageya in the 45th minute.
The second half started on a high with a free kick given on the mouth of goal in the 46th minute but the Stima players shot straight to the keeper. Kadenge then missed an open chance in the box while Jimmy Bageya was wide open.
Bageya continuesd with the onslaught as Baraza missed from the action for a while. Oscar Kadenge lit up in the second half combining well with Baraza and Bageya to tear apart the Western Stima combination. They were however at it as in the 64th minute a Shimonyo onslaught is thwarted by Barbanus Tiema.
Benard Mangoli missed the best chance in the 72nd minute for the leopards in the second half after failing to finish a move that he initiated in the midfield having well beaten the goalkeeper. Confusion in the AFC Leopards defence handed Stima a chance but there is no one in the box to slot the goal moments later.
83rd minute Stima got a corner at the edge of the area but was headed away to safety by Leopards defenders. Stima did some last minute attacks as Tiema was put to extra task in the 89th minute. Mike Baraza was however injured and stretchered off the pitch after taking a knock from a rebound. He was taken straight to the waiting ambulance for further medical attention.
On MichezoAfrika, it is reported:-
A second minute goal from Mike Baraza gave AFC Leopards a deserved but slim 1-0 win over rivals Western Stima in an action packed Kenyan Premier League match played at the Nyayo Stadium on Thursday evening.
Hardly had the teams settled than lethal striker Mike Baraza scored from a left foot shot after a neat through pass from Jimmy Bageya to give AFC Leopards a solitary goal that stood to the end. Mark Sirengo’s effort to equalize for the visitors past the quarter hour mark hit the dead end.
A 41st minute careless tackle by Western Stima’s Edwin Barasa on a hard working Jimmy Bageya left the AFC Leopards fans crying for a penalty but their calls were ignored by center referee Damaris Kimani.
The second period saw Western Stima start strongly with a well-placed free kick but this didn’t last for long as AFC took over and dominated good spell of the proceedings. Good combination between Jimmy Bageya, Charles Okwemba,Mike Baraza and Oscar Kadenge provided a hard nut for the Bukhungu based Western Stima to crack.
AFC Leopards’ new signing Charles Okwemba was denied by Western Stima custodian David Juma after Mike Baraza had set him up through a back-heel. Bernand Mangoli had the best second half chance in the 72nd minute but his final shot missed the post by a whisker as Ingwe pushed upfront to seal off the match.
A defensive mix-up at AFC leopards defense almost gifted Western Stima an equalizer but keeper Bernard Tiema did well to deal with successive corner threats and a promising free kick from Kevin Amwayi.
The match ended with Western Stima still pushing for an equalizer much to the relief of the AFC fans and new coach Jan Koops. A cause of concern for Coach Koops was the injury sustained by Mike Baraza after a rebound ball hit him direct in the face. Baraza was stretched off and immediately whisked to a standby ambulance for further medical attention.
The win served as a revenge for Ingwe who lost their last match to Gor Mahia as Western Stima won the first leg fixture and pushed AFC two positions up in the KPL Standings to 10th with 22 points after 18 matches. Western Stima is 7th with 26 points after same number of matches.
In the post-match interview, Western Stima coach Henry Omino said his boys lacked lethal power upfront and termed AFC as deserving winners.
"We were caught flat footed early in the match. They deserved to win. We need to work on our finishing but we played well in the second half", Said Omino.
New AFC Coach Jans Koops was a happy man after earning three points which he said will serve as motivation for the next game.
“I feel very happy. This is motivation for the next game. It was not a good game but we have 3pts", Said an elated Koops.