Ulinzi Stars edged out visiting Mathare United 2 – 1 in a midweek Kenyan Premier League (KPL) fixture played at Afraha Stadium from 1500 hours local time.
Stephen Ochollah and Kevin Amwayi scored a goal apiece for the hosts within the opening 15 minutes before youngster Eric Johanna reduced the deficit in the 48th minute as Robert Matano’s men rose up to third spot on 24 points while the Slum Boys dropped to ninth spot on 18 points from 13 rounds.
Ulinzi started off brightly pulling the strings in the opening minutes and their efforts paid off after ten minutes when Stephen Ochollah headed in a John Nairuka corner after Kevin Amwayi’s shot was deflected.
Five minutes later, Amwayi doubled the lead after Oscar Wamalwa had combined well with Nairuka before the Kenya U23 striker found Amwayi who unleashed a powerful left foot volley past Mathare United goalie Peter Odhiambo.
The Soldiers continued to dominate the entire half before the half time break with John Makwata and Wamalwa getting close to shaking the back of the net.
In the second half, Mathare came back a revamped side. Barely after three minutes, Johanna got on the score sheet by releasing a long range shot that Ulinzi custodian James Saruni could do little to stop.
Ulinzi were dealt with a blow in the 76th minute when shot-stopper Saruni went down after over stretching to keep out substitute Edwin Ombasa’s attempt. He could not get back to his knees with reserve keeper Finius Odhiambo replacing him.
The Stanley Okumbi led side pressed on for an equalizer in the ten added minutes as a result of Saruni injury in vain. Edwin Ochieng’ however went close to grabbing a last minute goal from a Roy Syamba corner but the former headed wide off the mark to end the tie 2 – 1 in favour of the hosts.
Ulinzi next play Sofapaka while Mathare United hosts AFC Leopards on Monday 1 June.