Ulinzi Stars forward Elvis Nandwa grabbed a goal and an assist in the second half as the four – time Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions hit Wazito FC 2 – 0 at Ruaraka Stadium on Saturday 19 May, taking the Nakuru based team back to second on the log.
Ulinzi Stars coach Dunstan Nyaudo’s second half changes proved once again to be the game changers as Enosh Ochieng and Ibrahim Shambi combined well to set Nandwa clear for the opener before Nandwa picked Masita Masuta with a cross that the forward headed in to double the lead.
The main highlight in this game was the dissatisfaction by the two sets of coaches over the state of the Ruaraka pitch, and rightly so as the playing surface bore patches of freshly placed grass as well as sand soil, which gave the players a hard time.
Entertainment and struggle
Still the match was not short of entertainment even as the teams struggled and Ulinzi showed early intent with Oliver Ruto’s free kick that flew straight at the Wazito keeper Philip Odhiambo.
Wazito’s replies were quick fire attacks that yielded three straight corners which pressed Ulinzi back and goalkeeper Jacktone Odhiambo had to show great composure to keep out the danger as he went for his third straight clean sheet.
Ulinzi were soon in the ascendancy again and Wazito keeper Odhiambo stood up for the side with great saves, keeping out two great headers from Nandwa while Oscar Wamalwa got the best chance for Ulinzi in the first half but couldn’t pull the trigger in time and Mark Odhiambo recovered to clear.
Bernard Ongoma also forced Wazito keeper to a great first half save with a powerful goalbound shot that the keeper tipped over to see the scores stay at 0 – 0 going to the break.
It was the same script in the second half, with Wamalwa getting the first good opening but his looping ball was well spotted by Odhiambo before the Ulinzi coach pulled the masterclass, withdrawing John Kago and Michael Otieno for Ibrahim Shambi and Masita Masuta, then Enosh Ochieng for Cliff Kasuti.
The impact was almost immediate with Shambi getting the assist as Nandwa opened the scores in the 73rd minute and Masita confirming it with the second on 86 minutes.
With Mathare United playing to a barren draw with Kakamega Homeboyz, Ulinzi leaped back to second on 28 points, two behind leaders Gor Mahia while Wazito, on 17 points drop by a place to 14th on the log.