Midfielder John Kago in action against Nzoia Sugar on Saturday 5th May at Sudi Stadium, where he scored his first goal of the season
Ulinzi Stars moved to within two points of league leaders Gor Mahia after resuming with lethal finesse in the second half of their clash with Nzoia Sugar at the Sudi Stadium on Saturday 5th May, beating their host 2 – 0 in an entertaining affair.
The two sides headed to the game on the back of fine outings in their recent matches and having done a double against Ulinzi in 2017, Nzoia, who have also been doing well at home lately, would fancy a third straight win over the Soldiers but that thought was banished as soon as the first whistle went.
Nzoia Sugar old boy Masita Masuta recovered in time from a thigh injury to feature in the game and in just the opening minute should have handed the visitors the lead when with speed, powered past a flat footed Nzoia defence before unleashing a powerful drive that beat Benson Mangala in the Nzoia goal but bounced off the bar.
Tormenting runs by Michael Otieno on the left, Dan Waweru on the right and piercing passes from John Kago and Elvis Nandwa in the middle proved to be the worst nightmare for Nzoia defence, marshaled by Vincent Ngesa, reducing their intervention to long clearances.
At given points the long punts forward proved troublesome but were well dealt with by the Ulinzi backline and keeper.
On two occasions Masita should have given Ulinzi the lead, first shooting straight and feebly at Mangala then presented with a free header, directed his attempt straight at the keeper’s waiting hands.
Head coach Dunstan The Don Nyaudo’s pep talk at half time met just the needed impact getting back to the second half as Ulinzi Stars commenced it just like they did in the first half, with direct play, and just 30 seconds in, a cross from Brian Birgen was met by a well placed John Kago to slam home past a crowded six yard area for his first goal of the season.
The second goal didn’t take long, another good run on the right initiated by Brian Birgen released Dan Waweru who delievered a pin point cross to the rising Masuta. The former Nzoia forward, realizing he had attracted all the defenders’ attention, intelligently directed his header back at an unmarked Nandwa at the far post with the goal gaping.
Nandwa made no mistake, heading home for the second of the day and his third of the season.
There were a few more nervy moments for the home side when Cliff Kasuti was introduced and his direct runs at the jaded defenders was always a recipe for calamity. One such run spotted Oscar Wamalwa, who picked the ball, stayed calm and slotted home but the assistant referee’s flag went up immediately.
Nzoia Sugar coach Bernard Mwalala threw in Morven Otinya in an attempt to salvage the game and his first contribution was a powerful left footed shot that Jacktone Odhiambo dealt with well.
Ulinzi held on to pocket three points, hitting 25 after 14 matches and rising to second.