AFC Leopards star Mike Barasa scored from the spot as he not only gifted his club a deserved 2-2 draw against Mathare United at Nyayo National Stadium but also broke away as the Kenyan Premier League top-scorer with 11 goals.
At Thika Municipal Stadium, Rangers forced a 1-1 draw with Thika United while in Awendo, Sony Sugar were the better side, winning 1-0 against an inconsistent KCB side.
In the Leopards versus Mathare tie, Andrew Tololwa and George Ochieng gave the Slum Boys the lead that lasted up to half-time but an own goal by Llyod Wahome and Barasa’s spot kick ensured the teams went home with a point each.
Leopards’ Oscar Kadenge had the first chance of the game in the fourth minute but his shot went wide. Mathare would however take an early lead when Tololwa headed in a Kevin Kimani corner.
Despite pulling out Salim Khamis with an injury, Leopards coach Jan Koops could only watch as his side conceded their second goal after George Ochieng scored with a 30-metre strike in the 35th minute.
In the Thika match, the home team started strongly, pinning their opponents in their own half, but poor upfront coordination was their main undoing.
The visitors took charge, with dependable strikers Edwin Mwaura, Nicholas Ouma and Aggrey Ongoli manning the forward department well.
Rangers got their goal in the 29th minute after Edwin Mwaura gave a nice cross to Aggrey Ongoli who dodged his way through a shaky defence to crack a hard shot into the right corner of the net as goalkeeper David Okello watched helplessly.
Thika came back energised in the second half with Francis Kahata, Cliffton Miheso and Freeman Mulbah harassing the Rangers defence at will.
They however had to wait until the 80th minute for th equaliser. Francis Kahata placed a short pass to second-half substitute Freeman Mulbah, who brought a hard kick that settled onto the left corner of the net.
‘Luck not on our side’
‘Man of the Match’ Miheso penetrated the enemy territory at will but failed to translate the chances into goals.
“In the second half our opponents controlled the game, but we also contained them,” said Rangers coach David Ouma in a post-match interview, adding that he hoped for his side to finish in the top five.
Thika coach John Irungu said they were supposed to win the game but luck was not on their side.
“In fact, we got many chances but players did not utilise them well,” he lamented.
Nairobi-based referee David Gikonyo flashed three yellow cards – to Juma Abdallah and James Kiarie of Rangers and Thika’s Miheso.
In Awendo, Hugo Nzoka scored his season’s sixth goal as Sony Sugar’s form continued with a win over the bankers.
The burly striker nodded in Justine Monda’s cross past goalkeeper Caleb Adola for the only goal of an otherwise scrappy match.
After a sloppy first half, the hosts came back strongly but suffered a setback almost immediately after as goalkeeper Gadi Kawuondi suffered an injury and was replaced by Collins Oduor.