Rampant AFC Leopards sink Wazito, move to second

Wednesday March 14 2018

AFC Leopards fans join a jig during their Kenyan Premier League match against Mathare United at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on March 10, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |

AFC Leopards fans join a jig during their Kenyan Premier League match against Mathare United at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on March 10, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Whyvonne Isuza struck a second half brace as AFC Leopards rallied from behind to edge out 10-man Wazito 3-2 in a thrilling Kenyan Premier League match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday.

The win saw Leopards move to second on the league standings, three points below eternal rivals Gor Mahia after six rounds.

Pistone Mutamba, who also bagged a brace in the match, opened the scoring for Wazito before Ezekiel Odera, who had earlier on missed a penalty, drew level with a brilliant overhead kick towards the end of the first half.

Isuza then gave Leopards, under assistant coach Dennis Kitambi for the third match in row following the suspension of head coach Robert Matano, the lead with a simple header after Odera beat Wazito custodian Philip Odhiambo to the ball in an aerial challenge.

Mutamba then drew level with the simplest of tap-ins after he was set up by Joe Waithira who broke after being released by Harun Nyakha. Isuza broke Wazito's hearts with the winner late on.

"We are still making mistakes which will cost us soon if not rectified," said Kitambi said after the match.

At the end of it all, this game provided an action filled contest to the handful spectators in attendance at the Kenyatta Stadium.

Spells of entertaining football and exquisite finishing, missed penalties, plus war of words between the opposing tacticians, players and match officials punctuated the match.

"Before the game, the Leopards coach was bragging on how his team was going to discipline us. I think he should show us a bit of respect," said Wazito coach Frank Ouna in his post match comments.

Still mourning the death of his mother which occurred last week, Odera also made two assists for his side.

The veteran striker, also had the luxury of missing a 15th minute penalty, one of the two spot-kicks saved by Wazito keeper Odhiambo in this game.

It was Wazito however, who grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 25th minute, when Mutamba rose above everyone - including Leopards goalkeeper Jairus Adira to nod home the opening goal.

Odera would duly respond two minutes to the break. Youngster Michael Kibwage floated a high ball in the area which was flicked by Marvin Omondi and Odera acrobatically volleyed home his fourth goal in as many matches.

Leopards stretched the lead five minutes after the restart via Isuza's header into an empty net after Odera had done the dirty work.

But then, and completely against the run of play, Wazito - who had at this point been reduced to 10 men after Kennedy Ayako was sent off for dangerous play - scored seven minutes later.

Leopards then missed their second penalty via Victor Majid's feeble shot that was parried away by the alert Odhiambo, but then, had the last laugh as Isuza connected a Odera lay-off with a squeezed shot past a forest of legs and into the net for the winning goal.