NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Tusker FC bounced back to winning ways following a 1-0 victory over Bandari FC in a Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League match staged at the Ruaraka Complex on Wednesday.
Former AFC Leopards utility man Clyde Senaji sent the Brewers ahead after 33 minutes to see the Robert Matano-coached side collect maximum points to move up to 9th in the standing with 23 points while Bandari will remain 7th on 25 points.
Tusker came into the tie off the backdrop of a dour draw away to Vihiga Bullets before the league broke and needed to clinch maximum points with pressure mounting on Matano.
The tactician made only two changes to the team that played against Vihiga, Clyde Senaji coming into midfield ahead of Shaphan Oyugi while David Majak, whose return was finally cleared on Tuesday, started upfront in attack.
Just like Tusker, Bandari were also coming into the tie under pressure with only one win in five matches.
The start of the duel was cagy with Dennis Magige having the only effort on target in the opening exchanges with a shot from range which was easily picked out by keeper Patrick Matasi. Magige however had to come off with less than quarter of an hour played after clashing against Daniel Sakari’s knee and coming out worse off the challenge.
Tusker were calm in their approach and they were finally rewarded in the 33rd minute when Senaji scored his first goal since returning to the club with a brilliant shot on the volley from the edge of the box.
The goal was the result of a beautiful team play from the brewers when Jimmy Mbugua did well on the left to keep the ball in play before picking out Eric Zakayo. The winger was pickpocketed as he went for a shot but the ball flew back to Senaji who made no mistake with a blinder of a goal.
The goal injected a push of confidence on the brewers and they were more controlling in possession, though the penetration against a resilient backline was lacking.
They should have gone to the break two goals up when Zakayo put John Njuguna through with a pass at the edge of the box. However, the latter’s shot on his weaker right foot was parried away by Mike Wanyika in the Bandari goal.
At the start of the second half, Bandari made changes with their newest acquisition Kevin Kimani being introduced as well as William Wadri and Abdallah Hassan. This was a clear indicator that the dockers were going all offensive.
But, Tusker maintained their forward play and they had chances with Njuguna, Zakayo and Majak having efforts on the half volley all going wide.
In the 55th minute, the brewers were close when off a long throw from Daniel Sakari Charles Momanyi flew in for a header but his effort greased the side netting.
Tusker also made changes, Deogratious Ojok and Jackson Macharia being brought in for Ibrahim Joshua and Majak. Bandari piled pressure, dumping long balls into the area, but the Tusker defense dealt with the danger with ease.
With five minutes left, Njuguna came close to scoring a second when Ojok teed him up at the edge of the box, but his curling effort flew just wide.