Sofapaka FC soared into fourth on the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) standings after Umaru Kasumba converted a late penalty to give them a 1-0 victory over over KCB FC at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Sunday.
What had been an intensely physical clash appeared set to end in a stalemate until the visitors conceded a 90th minute penalty and Kasumba obliged, beating goalkeeper Addisa Umar from the spot to settle the tie.
The only other KPL clash on the day ended in a similar scoreline in favour of hosts Zoo Kericho FC with Newton Ondari’s first half striker proving the winner against Posta Rangers who thus sunk into 14th on the log.
It was only Zoo’s third win of the season and was enough to lift them off the relegation zone to 13th.
In Machakos, the afternoon got to a sluggish start but the game gained momentum with a quarter of an hour gone as each side set out to secure a first win in three games after they had both drawn and lost in the previous rounds.
The Bankers rallied for the first goal of the afternoon with winger Chrispinus Onyango unleashing a left-footed ferocious shot outside the box, going just inches wide much to the relief of Batoto Ba Mungu shot stopper Justin Ndikumana.
Play was stopped for a few moments in the 19th minute as medical attention was given to Sofapaka centre back Omar Musa after he was on the receiving end of a heavy tackle from KCB midfielder Kennedy Owino.
There was drama in the 21st minute after Sofapaka custodian Ndikumana committed himself to a cross at the edge of the box but missed out, leaving his post unguarded but defenders Omar Musa and Kennedy Owino kept out high power shots from Frank Ouna’s men.
John Barasa’s troops earned a couple of free-kicks at the edge of the box after fouls on centre forward Umaru Kasumba with the break looming, but John Avire sent them flying over.
Sofapaka rightback Willis Ouma brought down Kennedy Owino on a counter attack four minutes after the restart inviting a yellow card from the referee.
KCB coach Ouna called on Clinton Kisiavuki and Shami Mwinyi with Chrispinus Onyango and Ezekiel Omule as he sought to boost his firepower in the 56th minute, and Barasa responded by bringing off skipper Stephen Waruru in favour of Michael Oduor eleven minutes later.
With quarter an hour left to play, Elie Asieche set Kasumba on goal with a clever through pass, but went down under a tackle by Kibwaga just outside the box.
The visitors were left to pay for a self inflicted defeat as substitute Bethwel Warambo handled the ball in the box after goalkeeper Umar was far away from home to battle Kasumba for the ball, who won the duel and crossed it in the box, with referee Raymond Onyango pointing to the spot.
Kasumba calmly dispatched the home bagging the three points for sofapaka in their first win in three outings, leapfrogging Kariobangi Sharks and Tusker to fourth on 27 points as the bankers remain glued to 12th spot on 16 points from as many matches.