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By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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Ulinzi Stars kept their dreams of finishing among the top three in the SportPesa Premier League alive with a 2-1 win over AFC Leopards in a thrilling match at Afraha Stadium Nakuru on Sunday.

The soldiers, who seem to have found their winning ways in the tail end of the league, were in a firing mood moment after referee Carolyne Wanjala signalled the start of the match.

Hardly three minutes into the game, Ulinzi Stars top marksman Masuta Masita floated a dangerous ball into the box which found a well positioned Elvis Nandwa, who in turn fired past AFC Leopards second choice goalkeeper Edwin Mukolwe.

It was a sweet revenge for the Dunstan Nyaudocoached Ulinzi as they lost to Ingwe in a similar fashion in the first leg.

Whyvonne Isuza will rue this match for a long time as he missed two clear chances when he failed to beat goalkeeper James Saruni when scoring seemed to be the easiest thing to do.

In the 13th minute, Isuza outwitted two of his markers and with only Saruni to beat, he missed the target.

Hardly a minute later, Isuza who gave the soldiers’ defence some anxious moments again but he seemed not to have carried his shooting boots as he missed yet another sitter.

The soldiers should have doubled their advantage at the stroke of half-time after Daniel Waweru capitalised on a poor judgement by Mukolwe who had dashed out of his position, only for the former Muhoroni Youth midfielder to fire a feeble shot which missed the target by inches.

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On resumption Leopards upped the tempo and were level five minutes later. Skipper Duncan Otieno unleashed a powerful volley from outside the box that gave Saruni no chance.

With less than 10 minutes before the final whistle, second half substitute Enosh Ochieng, who came in for Waweru, silenced the Isikuti drums when he made good use of Cliff Kasuti’s cross from the right flank to stab home the winner.

Coach Nyaudo had made two changes before the goal – resting Masuta and Omar Bora Afya for Kasuti and Elijah Mwanzia.

AFC Leopards stand in coach Tom Juma brought in Marvin Omondi, Eugene Mukangula and Alex Orotamol for Brian Marita, Yusuf Maingi and Isuza.

“We lost to Ingwe in the first leg and today I read a riot act to the boys to avenge the defeat. I am happy my instructions were taken seriously,” said Nyaudo.

“We played well but unfortunately the two set pieces by the soldiers inside the danger zone were our main undoing,” said Juma.

Ulinzi Stars wind up their season with an away match to Mathare United while Leopards will host Nzoia Sugar on October 7.



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