Oscar Wamalwa celebrates his goal against Vihiga United on Sunday 15th July
Ulinzi Stars rose to third place on the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) log after a dominant display and 2 – 0 win over Vihiga United at Mumias Sports Complex on Sunday 15th July.
Second half goals from Oliver Ruto and Oscar Wamalwa in the second half proved the difference in a game that both sides had good openings at a well manicured Mumias pitch.
Head coach Dunstan Nyaudo made a flurry of changes from the team that drew 1 – 1 with Kariobangi Sharks in the last match at Afraha Stadium, pairing Hassan Mohamed and Geoffrey Kokoyo for the firast time in the season, which saw George Omondi drop to the bench.
Churchill Muloma and Omar Mbongi were also injected in the team in places of Bernard Ongoma and John Kago while James Saruni came in for Timothy Odhiambo and Wamalwa started in place of Masita Masuta.
The opening minutes saw Ulinzi go for the jugular but could only win two corners in quick succession while Vihiga United could have taken a fourth minute lead after Vincent Wonder forced Saruni to a double save.
Good passing and pressing, a factor that badly missed in the opening half of the Sharks game was not witnessed here as Ulinzi Stars pressed high and threatened, only to lack the finishing touch with Churchill Muloma playing the maestro, though guilty of one big miss after going for the kill with a shot that was well powered but lacked precision.
Oliver Ruto celebrates his goal against Vihiga United on Sunday 15th July
The first half saw a total 16 crosses and eight shots on target but still ended goalless and a sense of a missed opportunity could be read through the players’ faces as they trooped off for the break.
It was a different script in the second half as 14 crosses, three shots on target yielded the win. One man – Ruto was the mastermind in both goals, first scoring from a free kick in the 50th minute after a foul on Muloma 25 yards out, then in the 68th minute he delivered a fine corner that was headed back in by Harun Mwale and Wamalwa rose high to direct it home for his second goal in as many matches, and fourth of the season.
Elvis Nandwa and Masita Masuta has fine attempts too while James Saruni had to be alert to smother a low shot from Laban Airo as Ulinzi kept a second clean sheet in the month, rising third on 37 points.