Keepers steal the show as Sharks, Sofapaka fire blanks

Keepers steal the show as Sharks, Sofapaka fire blanks

It was a busy afternoon for Sofapaka and Kariobangi Sharks goalkeepers in their SportPesa Premier League clash that ended in a goalless draw at the Narok Stadium on Saturday.
Had it not been for Sharks goalkeeper John Oyemba and his Soafapaka counterpart Mathias Kigonya, the hundreds of fans that turned out at the 5,000-capacity stadium would have witnessed the first ever goal at the venue that was hosting its first top flight match.
The draw took Sharks to 20 points as Sofapaka move to 19 after 12 rounds.
Batoto ba Mungu were dominant in the first half but were denied time and again by the brilliant Oyemba in Sharks goal.
James Kasibante found Maurice Odipo with a cross from the left flank but the veteran midfielder shot wide eight minutes into the match. Four minutes later, Kasibante had the first corner for Sofapaka on but Michael Oduor shot off target.
Sharks’ first real chance at goal came on the 23rd minute through Ibrahim Kitawi, who after lurching on a pass from Rodgers Omondi, unleashed a feeble shot that Kigonya easily picked. George Maelo and Oduor combined on the 26th minute to find Kasibante whose header went wide.
Sharks coach William Muluya made two changes to the team that registered a 1-0 win over Bandari bringing in Ovella Ochieng’ and Steven Odhiambo for Masoud Juma and Bolton Omwenga, the duo out with sickness.
Geoffrey Shiveka partnered Harambee Stars call up Paschal Ogweno at the back while Patillah Omotto and Sven Yidah marshalled the midfield with Matthew Odongo and Omondi leading the goal-hunt.
Sam Ssimbwa started with Jonathan Mugabi and Kennedy Oduor at the back, Odipo in midfield while Paul Odhiambo and Kasibante operated on the wings feeding Maelo and Pate Wanok.
Oyemba made a brilliant save two minutes to the break, punching out Paul Odhiambo’s shot.
Odongo, scorer of Sharks goal in their 1-0 over Bandari last weekend, thought he had broken the deadlock at the stroke of half-time but Kigonya denied him from inside the area with a brilliant save.
The keepers stole the show in the second half as both teams went all out in search of the winner.
Oyemba on the other end blocked Pate’s attempt in the 61st minute before Kigonya denied substitute Duke Abuya a minute later.
Pate failed to capitalise on a comic mistake from Yidah, hooting over the bar from inside the area in the 67th minute.
With 19 minutes to go, Ovella charged down the right flank before squaring a pass to Odongo but the Ugandan’s shot was saved by Kigonya. Five minutes later, the two wingers combined but Kigonya once again denied Ovella from getting his second goal of the season.
Michael Oduor’s head off Paul Odhiambo’s pin-point cross was tipped over by Oyemba before Kigonya produced a last minute save to deny the visitors the winner.
“It was a shot-stoppers’ day. On my side, Oyemba was the man of the match. He blocked the opponent’s chances on several occasions. We however take the point as we look forward to the next match,” Muluya said after the match.
Ssimbwa blamed his forwards for failing to fire his side to victory.
“They (our strikers) were wasteful despite being in command for the better part of the game. I can’t wait to bolster my ranks when the June window opens,” Ssimbwa said.

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