Kenya: 10-Men AFC Leopards Claw Kariobangi Sharks

24 January 2021

Substitute Jafari Owiti on Sunday scored a stunner at death as 10-man AFC Leopards beat hosts Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 in a thrilling Betking Premier League (BPL) match held at Kasarani Annex in Nairobi.

Red-hot striker Elvis Rupia had given Ingwe the lead in the 12th minute and in the 90th minute, Owiti, who replaced Marvin Omondi in the 72nd minute, sealed the win with an ambitious drive after noticing that Sharks goalkeeper Brian Bwire had left his line.

Fabrice Mugheni was sent-off for a second bookable offence moments before Owiti's goal. The win was the fifth for Leopards in seven matches and sees them move to fourth place on the log on 15 points.

For burly Rupia, the first-half strike took his tally this season to nine, three behind top scorer Eric Kapaito of Sharks.

"It is a very important win to us noting that before this game, Sharks were ahead of us and they are a very good team. Rupia has again proved how he is important to the team and we are very happy with his contribution," said Leopards' coach Anthony Kimani.

Sharks coach William Muluya admitted that Leopards were too good for his side.

"Leopards used their chances and I congratulate them. I think after we conceded the first goal, the urge on my side to score reduced," said Muluya, who also defended goalkeeper Bwire for his last minute howler.

"It (Bwire's mistake) is not something shocking because he wanted to help the team score," said the tactician.

As expected, the much-awaited clash started strongly with the two teams threatening in the first two minutes of play. Top scorer Kapaito failed to draw the first blood from a volley pass inside the Leopards' box, before a long pass from the right found Bienvenue Shaka on the other end, but his shot went wide.

Leopards looked more dangerous thereafter as they on several occasions unsuccessfully attempted to break the Shark's defence.

The hardwork by Ingwe, who are chasing a 14th title this season paid-off in the 12th minute, when lethal striker Rupia beat goalkeeper Brian Bwire with a powerful shot to the roof of the net after he brilliantly controlled a pass outside the box.

Five minutes later, Leopards goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan made a brilliant save to deny James Mazembe from a well taken free-kick, before Omondi's shot from the right missed the target narrowly.

Leopards looked more likely to extend their lead as they attempted to find the target with long range shots.

Coach Kimani's side were unlucky again in the 39th minute after Robinson Kamura's free-kick several yards from outside the box rattled the bar.

Rupia impressed in the 48th minute when he forced goalkeeper Bwire to a brilliant save with an ambitious drive from the right after connecting to a long pass. Moments later, Kapaito attempted to find Eric Juma inside the box with a cleaver pass, but goalkeeper Ochan was alert.

Sharks' coach Muluya made the first substitution of the match, bringing in Julius Masaba for Douglas Mokaya.

But it is Leopards who came close to scoring moments later as an unmarked Odhiambo missed the target narrowly after a brilliant run on the left.

In the 65th minute, coach Kimani introduced Owiti and Pater Nganga for Marvin Omondi and Odhiambo respectively.

Leopards goalkeeper Ochan denied Sharks a chance to draw level in the 72nd minute after he punched wide Masaba's shot inside the box. The hosts did not find the back of the net from the resultant corner-kick.

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