20 May 2018

Kenya: 10-Man Leopards Edge Thika to Hand Zapata First Win

Ten-man AFC Leopards thumped Thika United 2-0 to hand coach Rodolfo Zapata his first win in five games in a physically contested SportPesa Premier League clash played at the Thika Subcounty stadium on Sunday.

Whyvonne Isuza scored the opener from a penalty spot in the 59th minute after Ezekiel Odera was fouled by Baraka Badi in the area. Odera doubled the lead barely nine minutes later before being sent off for a second bookable offence.

The veteran striker will however, have himself to blame for the red card occasioned by his provocative celebration in front of a section of Thika United fans on the opposite fence of the main stand.

Victory for Leopards after a five-match winless run sends them to 25 points after 16 rounds, and it's their tenth win in 19 premier league meetings against Thika.

Thika having lost foot after two consecutive wins (against Wazito and Sony Sugar) remain on 15 points after their seventh defeat in the season.

"I am very proud of my boys giving me my first win that has pleased everyone especially the supporters," said Zapata after the match.

He added: "We head back to training to prepare for the next big match hopefully we get another three points."

His opposite number John Njogu said his charges were unlucky to the lose the match.

"We started well but lost footing in the second half. We had our chances we didn't utilize but I must say that in as much as we had prepared to win, the opponents had too and so it was a tough encounter but we pick ourselves up and focus on the next match," he said.

Mata Masakidi had the first shot at goal in the 13th minute, but was easily collected by Ezekiel Owade in Leopards post. Isuza blasted wide his attempt from inside the area five minutes later.

Shami Kibwana exchanged one two passes with Eugene Mukangula in the 29th minute but the latter's low range shot went inches wide.

Robinson Kamura was denied a goal in the 39th minute when his header from an Isaac Oduro long throw in was cleared off the line by Dennis Matasi.

Eliud Emase was busiest of the goalkeepers 10 minutes after restart as Ingwe pressed for the opener that eventually came a minute to the hour mark.

Odera's run inside the area was stopped by Badi forcing the referee to point to the spot with Isuza sending Emase the wrong way before Odera finally scored his in the 68th minute.

Leopards host rivals Gor Mahia on Saturday while Thika visit Vihiga United on Sunday.

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