AFC Leopards will be on top of the Kenyan premier League standings at least for the next four days despite being held to a 0-0 draw at home by soldiers Ulinzi Stars in Machakos on Wednesday.
After two straight wins over Nakumatt and Nzoia Sugar, Stewart Hall’s 100 percent record was halted thanks to a resolute Ulinzi defence coupled by a misfiring Gilbert Fiamenyo.
The absence of Mungai Kiongera, who missed the tie with a knee injury, was evident as Fiamenyo, who had previously scored two in two matches, cut a lonely figure upfront.
“We really missed him (Kiongera) because he does a lot of work and create many scoring opportunities. We are happy with the point because so many of our players played through the pain barrier with injuries today,” Stewart Hall, the AFC Leopards' tactician noted.
Ulinzi’s Benjamin Nyangweso was also pleased with the draw.
“We were playing away against a tough team and especially coming off a very tough match last weekend, this is a welcome result. We had chances to score especially in the second half and this is an area we really need to work on,” the tactician pointed out after the game.
Fiamenyo was guilty of many missed chances in the match, especially in the first minute when an awkward headed clearance by Oliver Rutto fell graciously on his path. However, the Ghanaian skied the effort with only James Saruni to beat.
In the 23rd minute, Saruni was adjudged to have handled the ball outside his designated area, but Robinson Kamura hit the resultant freekick straight against the wall. Ulinzi had a chance off a counter in the 34th minute but Evans Amwoka’s decision to cut back the ball instead of going for goal himself was thwarted by Salim Abdallah.
On the turn, AFC broke and Fiamenyo managed to skip past Saruni but a decisive tackle from Geoffrey Kokoyo thwarted the effort.
In the second half, it was Ulinzi who were swinging more scoring opportunities with AFC resorting to playing long balls. The best chances came to the soldiers’ arms late on with Cliff Kasuti’e point-blank header blocked by Ian Otieno while Enosh Ochieng’s low shot was also collected by the keeper.