•Otieno netted the sole goal of the match in the 62nd minute to take his side to second with 41points, same as third-placed Kakamega Homeboyz who have an inferior goal difference.
• Kimani rued the first half missed chances and failure to stamp their authority when they enjoyed long spells of possession
Eleven-time Kenyan Premier League champions Tusker stretched their recent unbeaten run to 13 matches as well as moved to three points within the reach of leaders Gor Mahia after beating AFC Leopards 1-0 yesterday at the Afraha Stadium.
Timothy Otieno netted the sole goal of the match in the 62nd minute to take his side to second with 41points, same as third-placed Kakamega Homeboyz who have an inferior goal difference.
Tusker head coach Robert Matano attributed the win to the changes and pep talk at half time after a rather a slow start in the first half, where they struggled to contain Ingwe
“Leopards are always lucky to reap maximum points here at Afraha. They dominated in the first half but at the same time we defended well. We had to change tact at the breather and it paid off few minutes into the final half. The win is a big boost in our push to fight for the title,” said the former Ulinzi Stars tactician
His Leopards counterpart Anthony Kimani rued the first half missed chances and failure to stamp their authority when they enjoyed long spells of possession
“We created a handful of scoring chances but we did not make them count. They got one and utilized it although the boys tried to force a share of spoils. We failed to control the game when we had our moments and we were punished,” said the former Kenyan international
Prior to kickoff, Matano who was facing his former employers, made four changes to the squad that played Ulinzi Stars to a one-all draw in their last match two weeks ago at the Ruaraka grounds.
The veteran tactician handed former national U-23 winger Chrispinus Onyango his debut since arriving from KCB last month and partnered with Brian Marita and Timothy Otieno upfront.
Former Nzoia Sugar captain Vincent Ngesa returned to the starting team after a long lay-off, starting ahead of Erick Ambunya at the right back while Ugandan holding midfielder Hashim Sempala also walked back to the starting team after missing the Ulinzi duel, thanks to suspension.
Sempala was picked to replace Kevin Okoth who was unavailable for the match while former Kariobangi Sharks and Mathare United shot stopper Robert Mboya was preferred ahead of Rwandese goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure.
Matano’s decision to start Mboya was vindicated in the opening half as the towering glovesman saved Elvis Rupia’s 45th minute penalty and made a couple of superb saves to deny the marauding Ingwe forwards as the two sides broke for the breather tied at 0-0.
A on-form Otieno broke the deadlock for Tusker 17 minutes after restart, a goal which saw him stretch his tally to 12—one shy of the leading top scorer John Makwata who turned for Ingwe before signing for Zesco United on the eve of the closure of the January transfer window. Ingwe who had won their last three matches remained perched sixth with 36 points