George Abege scored on his debut as Kariobangi Sharks came from a goal down to record a 2-1 win over visiting Nzoia Sugar FC in a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash staged at Nairobi's Camp Toyoyo on Wednesday 13 June.
The game had a shaky start with no team able to get hold of the proceedings but when it did, the home side had the better say with their crisp passing proving too much for Nzoia who were happy to sit back and break on counter attacks.
With the game starting to gather pace, the referee went down at the quarter hour mark as the scorching heat bore down on him, occasioning a short break. The two -minute break allowed both coaches to give the needed instructions to their troops as the referee got a new pair of shoes.
When the game resumed, the league's top scorer Elvis Rupia who had been silent in the earlier proceedings almost added to his 14 goals after taking advantage of a quick break to sting but his shot got the side net, his effort coming two minutes before John Oyemba was forced to tip over a free kick sent in by David Odhiambo after Rupia had been brought down at the edge of the box by Michael Bodo.
Nzoia's Brian Otieno and Sharks' Bodo were booked in a span of five minutes as tempers flared with Sharks' Duke Abuya and Bolton Omwenga testing Benson Mangala in quick succession as Vincent Ngesa, five minutes to the break, joined Otieno and Bodo in the referee's book for tripping Abuya as the first half ended with no team getting the better of the other.
Nzoia Sugar coach Bernard Mwalala made a double change on resumption with Luke Namanda and Patrick Kwitonda coming in for Edgar Nzano and Kevin Juma and the impact was instant. Four minutes after resumption, Sharks defence set a poor offside trap which allowed Namanda to prod in and send a cut back to Rupia who slotted past Oyemba for his 15th goal of the season.
Sharks Quick Double
The response from Sharks was immediate; after a series of attacks they got their equalizer in the 60th minute. Duke Abuya in his bid to control a cross from Eric Juma seemed to have handled the ball in the Nzoia box with the assistant referee raising his flag to indicate the same but the referee allowed him to thread the ball to George Abege who who restored parity on his Sharks debut much to the anger of the Nzoia players and technical bench.
Even before the dust could settle, Sharks doubled their lead through an own goal by Nzoia defender Brian Otieno. In their attack, Duke Abuya's seemingly harmless cross was chested down by Otieno whose intention was to get it back for his keeper, who had, unfortunately, raced off his line and the ball rolled easily into an empty net.
The goal did not dampen the Nzoia spirit, and Namanda had an opportunity to restore parity after being put through by David Odhiambo but the striker failed to tap the ball in with only Oyemba to beat. Sharks coach William Muluya reacted to the scare by making a double change, bringing on Sydney Lokale and Christopher Kimathi for Duke Abuya and George Abege respectively and Sharks went on to hold on to their slim advantage.
Kariobangi Sharks Starting XI: John Oyemba, Erick Juma (Eric Kipkurui), Pascal Ogweno, Geoffrey Shiveka, Sven Yidah, Saphan Oyugi, Harrison Mwendwa, Fidel Origa, Duke Abuya (Sydney Lokale), Bolton Omwenga, Micheal Bodo and George Abege (Christopher Kimathi)
Unused Subs: Gad Mathew, Wycliffe Otieno, James Mazembe, Moses Mwangi
Nzoia Sugar FC Starting XI: 39.Benson Mangala, 26. Festus Okiring, 16. Hillary Wandera, 28. Brian Otieno, 34. Vincent Ngesa, 04. Peter Gin, 08. Edgar Nzano ( Luke Namanda),13. Kevin Juma (Patrick Kwitonda), 33. Elvis Rupia, 02. Stephen Wakanya, 09. David Odhiambo
Unused Subs: 5. Humphrey Katasi, 5. Edwin Wafula, 24. Tom Teka, 25. Dennis Wanjala, 30. George Mutimba