Ulinzi Stars wrapped up the month of February on a high, after a hard fought 1-0 win over Sofapaka in the two sides’ Round 22 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) encounter staged at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday 29.
In a very physical clash that saw three substitutions made in the opening half, it was Enosh Ochieng’s 70th minute penalty that settled the match.
Ulinzi Stars suffered an early setback when just in the 12th minute, the Soldiers were forced to make a change after Michael Otieno suffered a facial injury, momentarily blurring his vision, having been caught by a flailing Sunday Sebastien boot.
Soon, Sofapaka would also be forced to make early changes as the physical approach by both sides took a toll on the players. Thomas Wainaina came worse of a 50-50 challenge with Brian Birgen before Sammy Imbuye went down too moments later. George Maelo and Collins Wakhungu were picked as their replacements.
Ulinzi Stars’ Masita Masuta also occasioned a stoppage right before half time after taking the brunt of Faina Jacobs’ challenge. he would resume to win a second half free kick from which Bernard Ongoma hit the bar with a well powered shot from range.
Both teams kept knocking in what was turning into a game of few open chances, well, until a rare mistake from the keeper happened in the 69th minute. His pass to Faina was a bit short and Masita Masuta intervened, leaving Faina with little effort but pull down Masuta.
Referee Andrew Juma pointed to the spot and Enosh Ochieng stepped up to slam the spot kick home, a goal the Ulinzi guarded jealously to the fifth minute of added time.