Kenya: Tusker Held By Mathare, Miss Chance to Go Nine Points Clear

Leaders Tusker on Tuesday squandered the chance to go nine points clear at the top of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) after battling to a barren draw with bottom-placed Mathare United at Ruaraka grounds in Nairobi.

Despite being at the bottom of the 17-team league, the 'Slum Boys' put up a brave fight, thwarting the brewers' numerous attempts, while also threatening with the few chances that they created.

Tusker move to 55 points, seven ahead of second-placed KCB, who face Ulinzi Stars on Wednesday at Thika Stadium in Kiambu. The bankers have two matches in hand.

Even with the barren draw, Mathare are still bottom on 15 points from 25 matches. At Thika Stadium, Bandari and Bidco United played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in another league tie.

"We have not played well today. We hit the post twice in the first half so I can say we were not sharp. But that is the nature of football, getting one point is better that losing all, so we will continue working hard. I am sure we will bounce back," said Tusker's coach Robert Matano.

His Mathare counterpart Frank Ouna blasted Tusker's high balls playing style.

"It was a tough game. At some point I thought we were playing a team from the sugarbelt region because the ball was ever in the air. Every points counts and I believe we can build on it."

Tusker welcomed back in their starting line-up captain Hashim Sempala and George "Blackberry" Odhiambo.

While Sempala missed Tusker's clash with AFC Leopards last Friday due to suspension, Odhiambo limped off early during the first half of the match that the brewers won 2-0.

The former Gor Mahia man sent shivers down Mathare's players on 19 minutes with his left footed, powerful drive that rattled the goalpost, and with goalkeeper David Okello beaten.

Khalid Juma was also not lucky with his long range effort the other end. The brave Mathare almost took the lead at the half hour mark thanks to goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure's howler but the Burundian recovered in time to block David Ochieng's long range drive on the line.

Ochieng had noticed that Mvuyekure was out of his line and attempted to punish him with a long range effort.

Six minutes to the break, James Kinyanjui planted his shot over Tusker's crossbar, before Sempala's volley was blocked by Okello at the other end.

Tusker won a free-kick at the edge of Mathare's box on 53 minutes after Odhiambo was brought down by Kennedy Ochieng, but Rodgers Aloro's delivery was blocked by the Mathare wall.

Mathare made the first substitution in the match on 65 minutes, Eugene Wethuli coming in for John Mwangi.

Tusker responded immediately with the introduction of Humphrey Mieno, Jackson Macharia and Luke Namanda for Chrispinus Onyango, Sempala and Brian Marita respectively.

And while the brewers continued to pile more pressure, Okello ensured that his side held on for a point.

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