03 Mar, 15:58
Stephen Waruru netted his first goal for Sofapaka with Kepha Aswani adding the second as Batoto Ba Mungu sealed a second win in a week and handed Posta Rangers the first loss of the 2018 season in their Saturday afternoon early kick off match at the Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.
The first half started on a high and proved to be very pacy as both teams deployed swift attackers in search of early goals. Posta seemed to settle faster into the match with Willis Ouma getting space to cross from the right but it flew out for a goal kick in the second minute.
Mike Oduor then set up Aswani on the left flank but the move is interrupted by Posta defence which was proving solid. Sofapaka goalkeeper Mathias Kigonye then came under test Louis Tera and Kennedy Otieno, both chances not fruitful. Rangers, however, suffered a goalkeeping scare with Patrick Matasi being attended twice after a collision and forcing a stoppage. Kimani then proved to be key in Sofapaka midfield injecting pace and possession while swinging in dangerous crosses.
Batoto Ba Mungu had now fully settled in the match and Ouma was enjoying his interplay with Kimani but the latter's closest cross was cleared away by Santo for a throw-in in the 32nd minute. The moment of reckoning came soon after through a series of free kicks; first, a Seleman Ngotho tackle on Kimani was ruled as a foul, the second taken by Ouma and the third by Aloro all going wide. However, Kimani’s free-kick after Waruru was brought down proved to be it as he swung his cross from which Waruru rose high to connect with for a perfect header and the opening goal in the 40th minute.
HT: Sofapaka 1, Rangers 0
Posta Rangers fought hard for an equalizer with no avail leaving the match to end with Sofapaka enjoying the narrow lead. There was no letting up for Sofapaka into the second leg proceeding from where they had left in the first half. The 2009 champions would soon stretch their lead a minute after the restart after Aswani swang in a shot, connecting from midfield, leaving Matasi and his defenders well beaten and helpless.
Mathius Kigonya would, however, face another tough test, the Ugandan being forced into action by Ngotho Suleiman from a well curled in free kick set on target, whose save left him in need of medical attention from his contact with the Machakos turf. Rangers now appeared overwhelmed despite injecting fresh blood through Calvin Odongo and Jared Obwoge. Sofapaka responded by introducing Ugandan Umaru Kasumba and mid-maestro Mang’oli, the move seemingly working in the latter’s favour.
Kasumba missed his first chance moments after coming on, dribbling fast and first setting up Ouma but he was caught offside and the second picking out Kimani who shot over the bar. Kimani then picked Elly Asieche with a beautiful pass but the latter missed the ball before. Posta then made them pay relaunching their attacks lead by fresh substitute Calvin Odongo who easily picked out Likonoh, to no avail at first. Likonoh, however, did not miss from the second cross as he pumped in a shot from his left foot to beat Kigonya from outside the 18-yard box and narrow the gap.
The introduction of Joseph Nyaga further reinforced Rangers with their attacks now more frequent. A freekick by Osborne Monday flew inches over the bar while Odongo sent in a dangerous cross from the right flank but Kigonya was ready for business denying him a chance to equalize. Their efforts, however, did not bear fruits as the match slowed down towards the end handing Rangers first loss of the season and Sofapaka the second consecutive win a week.
FT: Sofapaka 2, Rangers 1
Posta Rangers XI: Patrick Matasi (GK), Suleiman Ngotho, Jerry Santo, Kennedy Onyango, Joseph Mbugi, Osborne Monday, Gearson Likonoh [Joseph Nyaga], Titus Achesa, Luis Tera [Cavin Odongo], Kennedy Otieno, Jeremiah Wanjala [Jared Obwoge]
Unused Subs: Martin Musalia, Collins Omondi, Peter Nganga, Eric Kibiru,
Sofapaka Starting XI: Mathias Kigonya, Willis Ouma, Yusuf Mohammed [Humphrey Okoti], Rogers Aloro, Moussa Omar, Kilume Mohammed, Kevin Kimani, Elli Asieche, Stephen Waruru [Umaru Kasumba], Micheal Odour [Bernard Mangoli], Kepha Aswani
Unused Subs: Emmanuel Opiyo, Hilary Echesa, Ibrahim Kitawi and Brian Magonya.