Peter Opiyo’s 87th minute penalty gave champions Tusker three precious points as they edged out Sony Sugar 1-0 in a Kenya Premier League match played at Hope Centre on Saturday.
The brewers were awarded the penalty after Sony defender Alfred Onyango handled in the box with three minutes to go.
It was Tusker’s first goal in seven games which propelled the Ruaraka side to 39 points, five behind leaders AFC Leopards.
Tusker stand-in coach George Maina said: “It’s a great result. It was important we win today to restore some confidence in the squad and put ourselves back to the race.”
Opiyo’s goal came just moments after Jockins Atudo’s goal had been disallowed.
Later at the same venue, Sofapaka played to their second successive barren draw as they failed to break a resolute City Stars side. The result saw Sofapaka drop down to third in the table.
Tusker began brightly with Opiyo rifling a shot wide after only three minutes. It was Sony however, who should have taken the lead in the fifth minute.
Enock Agwanda was fed with a pass from Ugandan import Jimmy Kulaba, the striker showed enough strength to hold off the challenge of Humphrey Okoti but with only goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch to beat, he hit the bar with the rebound parried away for a fruitless corner.
The game played on the patchy surface failed to liven up in the opening exchanges with Tusker players adopting a shoot on sight policy.
In the Top Eight final, Gor Mahia take on Ulinzi at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on Sunday. Gor coach Zdravko Logarusic said he will be treating it like any other game.
We are taking this game just like any other,” said Logarusic. “But do not be misled to think that we do not want to win this title. We are going for the kill.”
Gor Mahia whacked Tusker 4-0 on aggregate to make it the finals while Ulinzi went past Sony Sugar in a 3-2 aggregate win.
Ulinzi coach Sammy Simiyu said the title will remain at the barracks and Gor should consider themselves runners up. “It is our title, Gor should forget about it,” said Simiyu.
Sh1 million is at stake in the competition.