Talanta rose three places in the National Super League standings following a hard-fought 2-1 win over Modern Coast Rangers at Camp Toyoyo yesterday.
Talanta, who are enjoying arguably their best form ever, leaped to ninth on the log courtesy of quick second half goals from Shem Odinga and Abdul Wahab which rendered Roosevelt Blaty’s late penalty null and void.
The match marked the return of Talanta goalkeeper John Nduati, who walked back to the starting 11 after recovering from a back injury which had confined him to the sidelines for the past three weeks.
The match was characterised by wastefulness in front of goal in the opening half where both teams fluffed clear-cut chances.
Coast Rangers’ Francis Ocholla made several inquiries at Talanta’s goal with Nduati coming off his line to deny him twice in the sixth and 12th minutes. The experienced Ocholla was a constant threat to his markers, using his pace to terrorise the defence but could not hit the back of the net.
Talanta also had their first half chances through Rodgers Omondi, who failed to break the deadlock in the 39th minute as he drove his shot over the bar with the goalkeeper, Victor Lugingo already beaten.
After a goalless first half, Odinga pounced on Omondi’s pinpoint cross to open the scores for Talanta in the 56th minute. Five minutes later, Brian Okeyo dispossessed Cornelius Mwangi to tee up an unmarked Wahab and the diminutive striker made no mistake in sending the ball past a hapless Lugingo.
Talanta would have had their third goal in the 76th minute after centre referee George Mwai awarded them a penalty which Job Tinyo failed to convert.
Liberian national Blaty ensured that Nduati did not escape with a clean sheet, netting a 93rd minute equaliser from the spot after Ronny Katumanga handled the ball in the box.
Talanta head coach Abdallah Juma said the victory was a boost to his top-six-finish ambitions. “Iam happy the win has taken us to the top ten bracket and Its a boost to our season’s target of making it to the top six.”
His Coast Stima’s counterpart Abdinasser Kassim conceded defeat. “They were stronger in the second half and I can’t fault my players for the loss. I am happy that, for the first time, we have had fair officiating in Nairobi and I believe had this been the case before, we would have had a good number of away wins.”