Leopards beat KCB 2-1 at the Nyayo National Stadium last night to open a three point lead at the top of the League. Mike Baraza scored both goals to send the Leopards fans into a frenzy. Here is how the press reported it:-
Brian Moseti of Futaa wrote:-
AFC Leopards emerged from a struggling first half to win 2-1 against 10-man KCB, in their Wednesday 28 March Kenyan Premier League match.
The match started on a high with each side gaining access to the other’s box. KCB maintained a better ball possession throughout the first 45 minutes, closing with a 64% against AFC’s 46%.
Coming into the second half, AFC turned out to be the surer side, upsetting the possession to 59% against KCB’s 41%.
The renewed force was also reflected in the scores, three minutes in, with Robert Syongo, Victor Ochieng and Mike Baraza, connecting well with each other, for a goal bouncing off Baraza’s boot.
Syongo had received the ball on the right flank, and directed it towards KCB’s box, to find Ochieng, who back-heeled it for Baraza to seal the finish.
With KCB struggling to come back into the match, Ingwe relaxed and for a moment appeared to sink into defense, constantly frustrating KCB’s Paul Mungai’s and Jacob Keli’s runs inland.
At the 78th minute, frustration appeared to get to Mungai who lodged a verbal attack on the second assistant referee, for what he appeared to describe as numerous unfair calls.
This single act earned him a red-card, further deepening his side’s woes.
A minute later, Baraza, in a solo effort drove a thunderous shot past KCB’s keeper Kaleb Adola, to double Ingwe’s lead.
With the fate of the match appearing to be sealed, KCB’s Ezekiel Odera, who came in as 70th minute substitute for Michael Oyando, found the back of AFC’s net, to earn his side a consolation.
The win topped Ingwe's ever-flourishing record to 21 matches unbeaten besides enabling them maintain the top spot they have embraced since the start of the season.
AFC Leopards: 1. Patrick Matasi, 5. Edwin Wafula, 26.Robert Syongo, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 40. Eric Masika, 10.Charles Okwemba, 4. Martin Imbalambala [Cpt],18. Salim Kinje [70’ Oscar Kadenge], 34. Victor Ochieng, 9. Allan Wanga, 11.Mike Barasa
KCB: 22 Kaleb Adola, 13 Bethuel Warambo, 3 Milton Milimo, 12 Joseph Apindi, 2 Dennis Omondi, 14 Michael Oyando [70’ Ezekiel Odera, 7 Jacob Keli, 6 Elvis Ayany (Cpt), 18 Clifford Alwanga [62’ Peter Wainaina], 5 Mungai Kiongera, 11 Benjamin Chaka [57’ Bernard Meki]
TABLE-topping AFC Leopards showed diversity in their game comfortably stepping up in the second half from a low first, to beat KCB 2-1 at the National Stadium on Wednesday night.
Previously seen as a side that goes off the mark straight from the whistle, Leopards were unable to do it this time. But what a sense of timing it was as they injected a different gear into their game when it called for it, and in the end subdue a KCB side that probably thought they had Leopards on the ropes.
SuperSport’s statistics for the” live” match had KCB well ahead in the first half at 64% against 46% but as KCB did not capitalise on their domination, there was a perfect platform for Leopards to re-focus in the second period.
Apart from turning the tables in possession, 59% to 41%, Leopards made the second half form book count.
Three minutes from the restart, Robert Syongo, Victor Ochieng’ and Mike Baraza made their raid result in a Baraza goal.
The turn of events seemed to severely affect KCB’s nerve and it was most negative when Mungai Kiongera had to be shown the red card in the 78th minute after verbal misconduct.
A minute later Leopards punished this; Baraza going for his second goal, via an audacious taking on of the KCB defence and beating it with a determined dribble before firing past ‘keeper Caleb Adola.
Victory, then, looked comfortably sealed for Leopards but KCB were to get a goal from the unlikeliest of sources. Ezekiel Odera, the bankers’ top scorer and one of the league’s best in 2010 had moved on account of that prowess to Gor Mahia last season but failed miserably ending up with no goal and hardly a starting place in Gor Mahia.
Odera returned to KCB this season, not guaranteed a place in the team, but now in the seventh match for the bankers he was to score in injury time.
Leopards went 21 Kenyan Premier League matches unbeaten, since losing to Gor Mahia [1-3] on July 24 last year. Coach Jan Koops has been at the helm during that period.
KCB - 22. Caleb Adola: 13. Bethuel Warambo, 3.Milton Milimo, 12. Joseph Apindi, 2.Dennis Omondi, 14. Michael Oyando (10. Ezekiel Odera, 70’), 7. Jacob Keli, 6, Elvis Ayany (captain), 18 Clifford Alwanga (15. Peter Wainaina, 62’), 5. Mungai Kiongera,11. Benjamin Chaka (30. Bernard Meki, 57’)
Reserves not used - 1. Sammy Okinda, Gk; 25. Emmanuel Olupot, 23. Pius Andriano, 20. Geoffrey Maina
Scorer - 10. Ezekiel Odera (90+)
Coach - James Omondi
AFC LEOPARDS - 1. Patrick Matasi: 5. Edwin Wafula, 26. Robert Syongo, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 40. Eric Masika, 10. Charles Okwemba, 4. Martin Imbalambala (captain),18. Salim “Kinje” Ramadhan (7. Oscar Kadenge, 70’), 34. Victor Ochieng’, 9. Allan Wanga, 11. Mike Baraza
Reserves not used - 19. Barnabas Tiema, Gk; 12. Augustine Etemesi, 50. Jimmy Bageya, 15. Francis Chinjili, 23. Abraham Cokie
Scorer - 11. Mike Baraza (48’, 79’)
Coach - Jan Koops [The Netherlands]
* * * *
Referee - Anthony Ogwayo Assistant ref - Hassan Omondi Reserve ref - Haji Adede
Match commissioner - Hezbon Mbogo
Timothy Olobulu of MichezoAfrika wrote:-
Mike Barasa scored two wonderful goals in the second half to give AFC Leopards an important 2-1 victory away to KCB in an entertaining KPL match played at the Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday evening. The win extends AFC Leopard’s unbeaten run to 21 games and cements their places at the top of the log.
Barasa struck in the 48th and 78th minutes to get Leopards three points ahead of second placed Sofapaka. Substitute Ezekiel Odera scored the consolation for KCB in the dying minutes of the match as the bankers charged forward to stage a nervy end to the tie.
The high tempo match started with both teams going out on attack and KCB taking credits for the opening exchanges. Benjamin Chaka was causing all sorts of problems to Edwin Baraza on the left with Elvis Ayany and Mike Oyando providing good cover.
Leopards were however the first to get a chance at goal with Jonas Nahimana heading over the bar after a Martin Imbalambala’s long throw.
In the 9th minute Erick Masika almost gifted KCB with the opener but Paul Mungai could not do much with the lost ball. The Under 23 striker went on the right before cutting in a cross for Jacob Kelly, but Jonas Nahimana was fast enough to cover for his compatriot.
Mungai then tried his luck from a distance in the 13th minute but his shot went wide.
20 minutes into the match,the Leopards were on the attack and Victor Ochieng shot wide after Allan Wanga's misfired shot fell on his feet. Ochieng again lost another chance after beating Kaleb Adola with a nicely cut in shot but Bethwell Warambo covered well to clear the ball before it could cross the line.
Minutes past the half hour mark, Victor Ochieng’ saw his header alone in the box go wide after Robert Syong’os return header from a uncleared corner.
KCB were again forced into another goal line clearance five minutes from the half time whistle after another short corner with Adola off his line.
On 45 minutes, Jacob Kelly had a decent chance but Patrick Matasi pulled the best out of himself saving the former Mathare United striker’s shot from the edge of the box after he was let through by Elvis Ayany.
In a quick counter that led to a corner, Salim Kinje’s shot after a short start to the corner was acrobatically tipped off by Kaleb Adola for an resultant corner.
In the second period, AFC , Leopards seemed to have had a sip of liquid Mumias sugar and they came back with more energy.
Three minutes from the restart, Barasa put Leopards on the driver’s sit with a wonderful left foot shot. Robert Syongo brought in the cross from the left and Victor Ochieng laid it off for Barasa who struck to beat Kaleb Adola.
KCB Coach James Omondi reacted by pulling off Benjamin Chalka for Bernard Meki and Clifford Alwanga for Peter Wainaina.
With twenty minutes to the end, the evergreen Paul Mungai’s shot went straight into Matasi’s hands as KCB tried hard to break the Ingwe defense. Not even the coming in of Ezekiel Odera for Mike Oyando would change things for the bankers who were enjoying much of the possession.
AFC Leopards‘ Salim Kinje limped out injured and in his place came in Oscar Kadenge.
KCB were reduced to ten men in the 75th minute when Paul Mungai saw a straight red after he appeared to have hurled some nasty words at the assistant referee after a call that he didn’t like.
Just a minute after the send-off Mike Barasa doubled Ingwe’s lead with a ferocious right foot shot after wobbling through two defenders.
KCB managed a late consolation through Odera who slapped in the ball after Matasi had punched it away.
The win puts AFC Leopards three points clear of second placed Sofapaka in the KPL Standings.
Brian Moseti of Futaa filed an extra report on the Man of the Match:-
After scoring a brace in their 2-1 Kenyan Premier League win over KCB on Wednesday 28 March, AFC Ingwe Leopards’ Mike Baraza was named the man of the match.
On receiving his award [a DSTV Drifta], the striker underscored the fact that there is immense talent at the Ingwe camp and that one has to work extra hard to make the squad.
"AFC has many good players you have to work very hard for the coach to notice you, he said. I was glad that I made the starting team, and that is why when it was my time to impress, I stepped up on the plate and did what I had to do."
The three points earned from the match, set AFC Leopards, who are the league leaders, three points away from their closest rivals Sofapaka.