Ulinzi Stars foward Enosh Ochieng threw the race for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Golden Boot open with two goals as Ulinzi Stars thumped Western Stima 2 – 0 at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Wednesday 17 April.
It was a perfect outing for Ulinzi Stars but one well curved by Enosh’s goals as well as a number of big saves from goalkeeper James Saruni, including a first half penalty.
The Soldiers got the start they’d have desired, taking the lead in just the fifth minute when Enosh Ochieng lost a defender and went low with a diving header to slot home a nice cross brought in by Omar Mbongi.
Bonaventure Muchika almost undid the good opening for the visitors with a header back to Saruni, which the keeper wasn’t expecting, luckily for him, the ball drifted wide for an eighth minute corner.
Saruni penalty save
Stima got another chance to restore parity in the 14th minute after Brian Birgen’s high boot challenge on James Ogada which won the hosts a penalty, but Saruni proved unbeatable, going down well to save Kote Amboko’s penalty kick.
Stima won a free kick in the 28th minute and from the delivery, Junior Mukisa planted a powerful header past Saruni but where the keeper couldn’t get, there was the bar; and the ball bounced off it.
Sensing the danger, Ulinzi Stars pushed numbers forward, creating all their attacks from the left flank, with Mbongi a crucial character. The defender tried his luck with a good shot in the 35th minute but narrowly missed the target.
Muchika should have handed Ulinzi the second goal at the stroke of half time but he too planted a header off target after meeting Daniel Waweru’s corner.
The second half belonged to the hosts, but they found a fortress in Saruni, the Ulinzi keeper denying Mukisa from close range, Kevin Okoth and Herbert Kopany.
With Stima failing to make use of their chances, the sucker punch came as from a counter attack, Bernard Ongoma pulled the hosts’ defence wide before crossing in to the advancing Enosh Ochieng, who only had to put his body in the way to direct the ball home for the second goal in the 82nd minute.
Stima versus Saruni
Stima didn’t give up and Saruni gave them their match still. In the 87th minute, and after a fine exchange of passes from Stima, Kopany tested Saruni again and once again the Ulinzi skipper read the swerving shot well, diving to his right to tip it wide for a corner.
Kevin Okoth had a final chance for Stima with an angled low shot in the 90th minute but the keeper was not going to give up the chance for a third clean sheet in the last minute. he went down well to save with his feet.
The win saw Ulinzi Stars ascend to eighth on the log with 32 points as Western Stima say rooted at 13th place with 26 points.