Kogalo had never failed to score in this fixture since 2012. Mathare on the other hand last beat the green army in 2009. Both seem to love having the ball. Some even called it Dutch mastery versus Brazilian flair, sighting the two coaches “backgrounds”. Last season, they almost ended our unbeaten run.
The first half was plain. We had two attempts on goal while they had only one. Mathare’s tactic was basically to sit back, soak in the pressure and hit us on the counter. Such an antithesis to Kimanzi’s and even Mathare’s philosophy. Remember when he, a few weeks ago, bashed Western Stima for “Not coming to play football”? It worked.
Our best chance in the half was wasted by the later would be goal scorer, Walusimbi, when he missed a chance due to a poor first touch after a beautifully lofted pass from Nzigiyimana. (That move, resulting from Mathare’s corner, reminded me of taking corners in FIFA. It’s almost like creating a chance for your opponent. It’s even worse if you’re playing against Madrid.) We seemed to be playing through the flanks, with Walusimbi, Karim and Wafula fashioning 4 in the first 45. With Wise at center back, it was always going to be a problem for our target man, Jausenge. Wafula had moments when he could have created something special but was let down by his first touch. I think he is a wonderful dribbler by Kenyan (or Ugandan) standards but really has to work on getting the end product.
Mathare couldn’t pass the ball, something they have been doing well in every game bar this. Nzigiyimana effectively kept Eric Johana, their danger man, out of the game. Their only threat came with Abich’s free kick. They kept us at arms-length and were happy to do so if it could help them get something from the game.
Bonnie held our hearts in his hands by dribbling past our opponents. When it works, everyone’s happy with his composure under pressure. Should it fail, and it will one day, it eventually does, it stops being funny to the fans, his teammates and in particular the coach.
In the second half, Gor came out with more intensity. Mathare sat even deeper with Johana looking to play through balls which were easily dealt with by Shakava. It seemed to be heading for a draw. And Mathare would have been happy with that. We looked more threatening than Mathare who continued to sit back. Walusimbi took a good free kick, which didn’t really trouble Odhiambo in goal.
Ze Maria brought on Kahata for Wafula who switched wings with Walusimbi. It worked a few minutes later with Walusimbi curling the ball into the far post past an overstretched Peter Odhiambo. It was a great goal that should probably have been defended better as Kimanzi later stated. It meant that Mathare had to come out and try and get an equalizer. Meaning they ran the risk of conceding another. But with twenty minutes to play, they had to put in a shift. It ended up costing them after Kahata found Eric Ouma aka Marcelo with the finest of passes who then brought in a good cross for Tuyisenge to head in a second. He really was never going to miss from six yards. The game was basically over at that point.
Nothing much happened thereafter with only one threat on goal by Mathare, Johana’s free kick direct to the keeper.
A hard fought victory. Sends us up the log to position 2. Who would have thought of such resurgence after poor performance in the first few games? Marcelo really developing well both defensively and offensively, showing that he should earn a call up to the national team. Walusimbi with a goal that will most definitely be contender for play of the week on playback this evening, if not winning it.