Leopards claw Tusker in FKF-PL season opener at Kasarani

AFC Leopards players leave the pitch at the end of their Football Kenya Federation Premier League match against Tusker on November 28, 2020 at Kasarani. 

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Goals from captain Robinson Kamura and Elvis Rupia were enough to give the 13-time Kenyan champions their first win in a premier league opening match since 2017.
  • David Majak was Tusker's scorer in the clash held behind close doors as directed by the government to help combat the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

AFC Leopards kicked-off their 2020/2021 Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) season with a 2-1 win over Tusker at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi on Saturday.

Goals from captain Robinson Kamura and Elvis Rupia were enough to give the 13-time Kenyan champions their first win in a premier league opening match since 2017.

David Majak was Tusker's scorer in the clash held behind close doors as directed by the government to help combat the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Leopards coach Tomas Trucha said that while he is impressed by the result, his side should have won by a bigger margin.

"It was a nice game in the first-half because we were busy in front and we should have scored more goals. Second was not okay and we hope in our next game we will improve," said Trucha.

Tusker's coach Robert Matano admitted that side side were no match to Leopards, owing to lack of adequate preparations due to Covid-19 pandemic.

"Leopards have prepared well because they have been in camp for long unlike us who have just trained for a few days. We wished to win but it was not possible. Because of today's game we are now aware of areas we need to improve on," said Matano.

The match, which headlined this season's opening fixture, started with the players observing one minute of silence in honour of departed Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.

Hosts Leopards, who are chasing their 14th league title, were the first to attack, Rupia failing to score from two successive efforts into the first five minutes of play.

Ingwe continued to dictate the opening exchanges, and in the ninth minute, goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure saved Tusker from conceding early after he rose high to deny Clyde Senaji.

Namanda's miss

The visitors scoring opportunity arrived in the 18th minute, when unmarked Luke Namanda on the right wing blazed over the bar from close range.

Majak punished Leopards punished on 21 minutes, as he capitalised on the hosts defensive lapse to give the brewers the lead with a low shot. Leopards would have levelled the score immediately but goalkeeper Mvuyekure was alert.

Tusker's lead was short-lived, as Mvuyekure failed to deal with Leopards Kamura's low shot to the right of the goalpost.

Ingwe continued with their attacking spree and in the the 32nd minute, their efforts paid off as they were awarded a penalty, which Rupia made no mistake from 12 yards.

Kevin Okoth attempted to level matters for Tusker at the stroke of halftime, but his long range shot blazed over the bar.

Just like in the first-half, the second period started on high pace, with Leopards goalkeeper John Oyemba's quick reaction denying Chrispine Onyango a chance in the 49th minute.

One minute later, Caleb Olilo impressed the on other end with beautiful ball control but his powerful shot from the right missed the target.

Tusker made the first change of the match with Matano resting Namanda for Chris Ochieng in the 60th minute. Trucha responded three minutes later with the introduction of Fabrice Mugheni for Austine Ochieng.

Kamura forced goalkeeper Mvuyekure to a brilliant save with a well-taken free-kick in the 87th minute.

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