Coach Francis Kimanzi (R) with his assistant Salim Babu (C). The duo have managed to avoid the drop this season with Mathare United
Mathare secure survival with battling draw against Rangers
By Peter Wainaina | Sat 18 Nov, 2017 16:36

Mathare United secured safety with a battling 2-2 draw against 10-man Posta Rangers in a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash played at the Camp Toyoyo grounds on Saturday 18 November. 

First half goals from Chris Ochieng and Chrispin Oduor proving enough as Rangers rallied through Joseph Mbugi from the spot and Kennedy Agogo late in the game. 

Rangers' Collins Omondi saw red for two bookable offences. 

Avoid Defeat 

Mathare headed into this game in 15th place and locked in a three-way battle for survival with Western Stima and Thika United and needed to avoid defeat to confirm their status in the top tier for the 20th year in a row. 

Coach Francis Kimanzi's charges have struggled all season, losing eleven matches and were eager not to conclude the season with a 12th defeat. 

And received the perfect start to the game when as early as the third minute Chris Ochieng robbed Charles Odete of the ball in midfield and powered through Rangers' defence to slot the ball past the on-rushing Patrick Matasi. 

Counter Attacks 

The goal easing any sort of pressure that the Slumboys might have had coming into the game, as they sat deep willingly sceading posession and playing on the counter. 

Posta bossed proceedings for most of the early stages but were unable to curve out any meaningful chances as the defensive partnership of George Wise Owino and Lennox Ogutu stood tall. 

In the half hour mark Mathare doubled their lead through Chrispin Oduor after the impressive John Mwangi had done well to skip past a rough challenge from Luke Ochieng to find him unmarked in the box. 

Omondi Cautioned 

In the 40th minute defender Collins Omondi received his first caution for a foul on Cliff Nyakeya. Approach halftime Rangers were gifted an opportunity to pull a goal back as they won a penalty. Mathare keeper Mark Kioko colliding with John Nairuka on the six yard box. Joseph Mbugi stepped up and dully slotted the ball past Kioko. 

The second half saw more exchanges between the two teams. Samuel Olwande striking the crossbar early before Luke Ochieng had his header from a Nairuka corner sail over. 

Omondi already on a caution should have known better than to slide recklessly at Edward Seda with 10 minutes gone of the second half. 

Centre referee left with no choice but to brandish a second yellow sending the player to an early shower. 

Agogo Equalizer 

Mathare failed to take advantage of the dismissal as Rangers piled more pressure searching for an equalizer with Gerson Likonoh coming close with a well struck freekick that hit the side netting with 20 minutes left on the clock. 

 Rangers equalizer would come though eight minutes from time when substitute Kennedy Agogo heading home a Nairuka cross after the winger had taken advantage of Mathare's slack defending which had failed to mark his run after a Ochieng throw in. 

Mathare defended with their lives from there on as they held out for a point which was enough to secure safety.

Peter Wainaina
Twitter: @naina_naish
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