19 March 2017

Kenya: Flat Tusker Bottled By Thika Youngsters

Thika — Kenyan Premier League defending champions Tusker FC's poor start to the season continued after they were beaten 2-0 by hosts Thika United at the Thika Sub-County Stadium on Sunday afternoon, going for the fifth consecutive competitive match without a win.

Goals in either half from Eugene Mukangula and Mwinyi Kibwana gave the hosts a much needed win while building pressure on new Tusker head coach George 'Best' Nsimbe.

It was another woeful performance from the 11-time champions and it would have been worse for them had the hosts been more clinical with their chances infront of goal.

From the team that lost 5-2 to Nzoia Sugar last weekend, head coach George 'Best' Nsimbe made several changes, David Okello returning to goal with Duncan Ochieng benched, Marlon Tangauzi starting at right back in place of James Situma while Lloyd Wahome was rested in defense as well for Martin Kiiza.

Humphrey Mieno and Allan Wanga both returned from injury and sickness respectively giving a huge boost to the reigning champions coming in for Moses Ndawula and Clifford Alwanga.

Just two minutes into the match, the brewers found themselves trailing after Mukangula nodded home at the far post from a Salim Mzee cross. Tusker had dodged a bullet just a second before, David Okello thwarting Benson Iregi one on one after the former City Stars man broke into the box.

From the loose ball, Mzee lifted the ball into the area and an unmarked Mukangula headed across goal past a dazed Okello who was left fuming at his defense for school-boy marking.

Tusker were stunned but their body language never did much to show they were willing to fight and claw back the deficit. They had an attempt in the 14th minute with Allan Wanga's free kick going wide from 20 yards out.

Tika were using their pace to outdo the brewers and in the 24th minute, Iregi broke off on the left before slicing a low cross, but it flew across the face of goal begging for a touch but no one was available.

Mzee had two chances back to back in similar fashion to extend Thika's lead late in the second half but he fluffed both.

In the 41st minute, he fought his way into the box but after all the hard work, the easier task of picking his spot and slotting the ball home was never accomplished as he shot the ball over from close range.

Four minutes later, he was put through by Joel Tata but once again, he hit a massive shot high up equivalent of a rugby conversion with only the keeper to beat.

In the second half, the misfiring Mzee was offloaded and in his place came Kibwana. The striker showed his thirst for goal just 14 minutes after coming on, his freekick from a prime area flying a few millimeters off target.

In the 20th minute, the impressive Said Tsuma who had manned the midfield with adorable ease had a shot from the edge of the box which was spilled by Okello and Mukangula was ruled offside as he raced onto the rebound.

On the opposite end, Tusker had their best chance of the half but Jackson Macharia, a Thika oldboy blasted the ball over after chesting it down well from a Mieno cross.

Thika finished the job with 10 minutes left, substitute Kibwana lifting the ball over Okello after Iregi's ball bounced right behind the flat-footed Tusker defense.

Seconds later, the scoreline would have been bigger but Thika wasted a glorious opportunity. Iregi broke off on the right, cut back a cross which Tata missed with a gaping goalmouth and Mukangula blasted the ball over after picking it up inside the box.

Pressure now mounts on Nsimbe as Tusker remain winless while their closest competitors to the throne last year Gor Mahia are bathing in glory after back to back wins.

A lover of sports who seeks to tell the African story in an African way. Top ten finalist of the Abu Dhabi Sports Media Pearl Awards. Be it on the pitch, court, track, pool or course, the story will be told. On twitter @KakaTimm

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