What you need to know:
- Tusker acting captain Boniface Muchiri missed a penalty in the 62nd minute of the game attended by new Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat.
AFC Leopards Sunday defeated champions Tusker 1-0 in their opening 2021/22 Football Kenya Federation Premier League match at the Thika Sub County Stadium.
Sudanese international Saad Musa scored from close range after receiving a well-placed pass from winger Peter Thiong'o inside the box in the 19th minute.
Tusker acting captain Boniface Muchiri missed a penalty in the 62nd minute of the game attended by new Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat.
In other matches, newbies Police FC began their top-flight campaign with a 1-0 loss to hosts Kakamega Homeboyz at Bukhungu Stadium.
Stephen Opoku netted the winner in the 67th minute after being picked out by midfielder Moses Mudavadi inside the box.
Police FC forward Clinton Kinanga missed a couple of chances in the game that would have earned them at least a draw.
At Dawson Mwanyumba Stadium in Wundanyi, 2009 champions Sofapaka edged out Nairobi City Stars 3-1.
Forward Joe Waithera struck in the 42nd and 90th minutes, while Lawrence Juma was also on the score sheet after converting an 82nd minute penalty to bag the big win for Batoto ba Mungu.
Timothy Ouma scored a consolation for City Stars in 87th minute.
Former champions Ulinzi Stars also kicked off their season on a positive note following a slim 1-0 win over Nzoia Sugar side at Nakuru ASK Showground.
Michael Bikokwa converted from the spot in the 35th minute after he was brought down by Vincent Mahiga inside the box moments earlier.
At Thika Stadium, Leopards players came into the match having not trained for the last three days demanding salary arrears running into months, but put up an impressive display against the brewers.
Ingwe were also missing their dependable players who featured last season, but have since joined other teams in and out of the country.
In fact, their bench was composed of youngsters from their youth team, AFC Leopards Cubs, among them custodian Lameck Moindi, Giovanni Mose, Erick Mbithi, Zachary Ochieng and Maxwell Otieno.
Despite Tusker being pre-match favourites, it was Leopards who were the better side in the entire contest, defending well, superb on ball recovery and created numerous chances.
Just five minutes in the game, attacking midfielder Musa, who rarely featured for Ingwe last season, wasted a clear chance after being picked out by Caleb Olilo on the right edge of the box as his shot hit the side of the net.
Ingwe continued their dominance and were unlucky not to go ahead in the 13th minute when Thiong'o's shot hit the post with only Tusker custodian Brian Bwire to beat.
The miss irked the few Leopards fans on the pitch, who unleashed their anger on Tusker coach Robert Matano and midfielder Cylde Senaji, who recently crossed from the den.
Leopards' pressure finally paid off in the 19th minute when Musa scored with a close range shot after being set up by Thiong'o in the danger zone.
In the 25th minute, John Njuguna's headear via a Shami Kibwana corner went straight into the waiting hands of Leopards custodian Maxwell Mulili.
Matano was forced to substitute the ineffective Senaji and Humprey Mieno took his place in the 31st minute.
Tusker came close to levelling the scores five minutes to the breather when Boniface Muchiri raced on the right flank, crossed to Apollo Otieno, but the midfielder saw his powerful header go inches wide.
In the last minute of first half, Mieno unleashed a powerful shot which was parried by Mulili and Isaac Kipyegon cleared the ball to Tusker's turf as Ingwe took the slim lead at the break.
Matano made a triple change in the 46th minute, Eric Zakayo, John Njuguna and Kibwana paving way for Jackson Macharia, Rodgers Ouma and Kevin Monyi as Ingwe dominated midfield through youngsters Dan Sunguti, Brian Wanyama and Marvin Omondi.
The changes titled the game in their favour with Ouma and Macharia forcing Mulili to make some fine saves minutes later.
In the 62nd minute, Muchiri was fouled inside the box by Lewis Bandi and the champions were awarded a penalty. Muchiri took the ensuing spot kick, but his shot went wide.
Leopards' assistant tactician Tom 'Gaza' Juma made his first change of the contest in the 68th minute, Dan Sunguti making way for Boniface Mukekhe.
Despite late attacks from Tusker, Ingwe held on for what is definitely a morale-boosting win.