SportPesa Premier League leaders Bandari FC suffered their third defeat of the season when they were gunned down 2-1 by firing Ulinzi Stars in an evenly contested match at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Sunday.
The soldiers deserved to win their second match of the season after a stellar display.
Enosh Ochieng’ put the soldiers on the winning path from the spot kick when he converted his ninth goal of the season nine minutes into second half.
Ulinzi’s Ezekiel Okari dribbled past a forest of defenders inside the box and and as he was preparing to fire home, he was hacked down by Bandari’s Nicholas Meja prompting referee Anthony Ogwayo to point to the spot.
Taking the resultant spot kick, Enosh Ochieng sent Bandari custodian Farouk Shikhalo the wrong side.
Bandari made three changes introducing Dairus Musaga, David King’atua and Brian Otieno and rested Nicholas Meja, Daniel Otieno and Michael Luvutsi.
This move by coach Ben Mwalala paid off in the 69th minute when King’atua stunning free kick some 30 meters away from the goal which bounced off on the chest of goalkeeper James Saruni before Yema Mohammed pounced on the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
Hassan Abdallah should have doubled the score for the dockers in the 75thminute, but his rasping shot at the edge of the box flew over the bar.
Three minutes later, Okari who was undoubtedly the man-of-the match, blasted wide in front of the goal as the goal hungry soldiers pushed forward for the winning goal.
Six minutes before the final whistle, Okari atoned for this miss when he capitalised on a goalmouth confusion to stab the ball into the empty net.
Ulinzi’s head coach Dunston Nyaudo made two changes in the dying moments of the game recalling Elvis Nandwa and Okari and brought in Bora Afya, who is a former Bandari player and Bernard Ongoma.
Bandari coach Mwalala did not grant the media the post-match interview.
However, team manager Wilson Obungu said that the defeat is a big lesson even as they fight to grab their first Premier League title.
“The defeat has slowed down our march to clinching the title and we hope to amend the mistakes we made and return back to our winning ways,” said Obungu.
Coach Nyaudo could not hide his joy after the match.
“This was a must win match for us. Bandari was a hard nut to crack and I had prepared the boys properly for this encounter,” said Nyaudo.