A last gasp Whyvonne Isuza penalty saved AFC Leopards blushes as the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Kariobangi Sharks at a water logged Thika Sub County Stadium on Wednesday 25 April.
William Muluya rang three changes from the side that lost 1-2 to Kakamega Homeboyz last time out bringing in Pascal Ogweno, Shaphan Oyugi and Sydney Simale for Wycliffe Otieno, Francis Manoah and Eric Kapaito. His opposite number Denis Kitambi rejigged his side after the disappointing 0-1 loss to Bandari handing Duncan Otieno, Majid Victor and Yusuf Mainge starts over Lukooya Baker, Majid Victor and Eric Bekoe.
Sharks dominated the opening minutes of the game as Ogweno almost demonstrated what they missed in their last two games but his headed effort went wide from Patillah Omotto’s corner.
Duke Abuya sank his face onto his hands after squandering a big chance when he closed down Robinson Kamura and had a clear sight on goal but his strike failed to get on target. Vincent Oburu could have grabbed an early lead for Ingwe were it not for his unmarked header drifting off the target. The best chance of the half fell at the feet of Brian Marita who tried to chip Whyvonne Isuza’s exquisite cross however John Oyemba was equal to the task gathering his effort with a routine save.
Marita was first on the referee’s book, cautioned for elbowing Harrison Mwendwa.
Patillah Omotto levelled proceedings in the offences order, receiving a yellow card for shirt-tagging Isuza. The opening stanza finished goalless with both teams wasting clear cut chances.
Kitambi was first to ring the chances in the game taking out Vincent Oburu for the 2009 Confederations Cup top scorer Eric Bekoe. Leopards were mounting pressure on the Sharks goal but the defense stood firm from the constant onslaught. Marvin Omondi's well struck effort just after the hour mark was equally met by a last ditch save by Oyemba and soon after, Ingwe were forced to a second substitution after Kamura picked up an injury; on came Victor Majid.
Kitambi had an unfortunate day with his bench, exhausting all his three replacements after Jaffari Owiti was taken off with an injury, and replaced by Ugandan import Lukooya Baker.
Sharks coach introduced Francis Manoa in the 70th minute replacing Sydney Simale, and he took only seven minutes to announce his arrival as he nodded in the opener from a wonderfully curled in free kick from Patillah. Sharks sat back to defend their lead by all means as Bodo and Oyugi traded a yellow card each. Bodo had the pitch to blame with two minutes left on the clock as slid and handled the ball inside the 18 yard area. Up stepped Isuza who held his nerve to convert the penalty drawing Ingwe level.
The draw extends both team's winless streaks to five games each as Sharks remains 11th on the log with 15 points while AFC Leopards rise to fourth on the log with 19 points, tied with third placed Ulinzi Stars who have a superior goal difference.
Sharks Squad: Jeff Oyemba, Pascal Ogweno, Geoffrey Shiveka, Michael Bodo, Bolton Omwenga, Patillah Omotto, Shaphan Oyugi, Harrison Mwendwa, Paul Kamau, Duke Abuya, Sydney Simale
Subs: Gad Mathews, Wycliffe Otieno, Vincent Wasambo, Fidel Origa, Francis Manoah, Ebrima Sanneh, Brian Juma
Leopards Squad: Ezekiel Owade, Michael Kibwage, Dennis Sikhayi, Yusuf Maingi, Robinson Kamura, Duncan Otieno, Marvin Omondi, Whyvonne Isuza, Vincent Oburu, Jeffari Owiti, Brian Marita
Subs: Jairus Adira, Moses Mburu, Baker Lukooya, Ezekiel Otuoma, Azika Okaka, Eric Bekoe, Victor Majid