NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – AFC Leopards moved to within two points of league leaders Tusker FC after a narrow 1-0 victory over Nzoia Sugar at the Ruaraka Complex on Saturday, keeping their fight for a first BetKing Premier League title since 1998 on course.
Caleb Olilo scored the lone goal in the first half as Leopards moved second in the standings with 32 points, two behind Tusker who were earlier held to a barren draw by KCB at the same venue.
Olilo struck Leopards into the lead after 38 minutes with a sweetly struck volley unmarked on the right after being picked out by a cross from Austin Odhiambo.
Leopards were relieved to have picked the lead especially with Nzoia having come close severally. The visitors should have been in the lead earlier on when Titus Kapchanga picked up the ball inside the box with a gaping goalmouth but struck his effort wide and over.
Hillary SImiyu also had a good chance with a snap shot from inside the box, but Leopards keeper Benjamin Ochan made a good save to keep his side in the game.
Leopards also had two close chances, both falling on Odhiambo. The midfielder first forced the keeper into a low save with a low shot from the edge of the area while he was also denied by the upright when he headed on target after the keeper spilled a cross.
Nzoia should have gone back on level terms at the stroke of halftime, but James Kibande’s header from the edge of the six yard box was beautifully tipped over for a corner by keeper Ochan.
In the second half, Nzoia came back stronger while Leopards seemed to have faded away. The visitors were direct in their play and forced Ingwe to play on the back foot.
Four minutes after the restart, Nzoia had a chance when SImiyu had space ahead of him at the edge of the box but his rasping shot missed the target by a whisker.
Nzoia played the balls in the danger zone, but could not get their act together when it mattered most, in the final third.