Tusker FC will represent Kenya at next year’s CAF Champions League after thrashing Ulinzi Stars 4-1 to finish top of the standings by the June 30 deadline set out by the Football Kenya Federation.
The victory over the soldiers in a tough duel at the ASK Showground in takes the brewers to 47 points after 22 matches, sitting top of the pile, a point ahead of second placed KCB.
Against Ulinzi, the boys came from a goal down to win, with two goals coming in the last four minutes of the game. Boniface Onyango had scored the opener for the home side before Brian Birgen turned Luke Namanda’s cross into his own net for the leveller.
Brian Marita then scored the second just a minute after the restart. The boys would leave it late to seal the victory, Kevin ‘Kepha’ Okoth and Chris Ochieng scoring in the final four minutes of the game to seal a home and away thrashing of the military side.
The home side got into the lead in the 11th minute when Boniface Onyango headed in at the back-post. But 10 minutes later, the hardfighting Tusker was on level terms.
Luke Namanda made a daunting run on the right before slapping in a belter of a cross which was turned in by Birgen.
In the 28th minute, Faraj Ominde should have taken Tusker ahead when he dived in with a header behind the defense off Henry Meja’s cross, but the effort was inches wide.
In the second half though, Tusker came off the blocks faster. Just a minute in, Marita had scored his fourth goal of the season with a powerful tap in from close range after Henry Meja’s cross from the left rolled into his path.
Coach Robert Matano then threw in a doble change, Faraj and Marita coming on for Hum Mieno and Boniface Muchiri. The introduction of the two changed the dynamics of the game with the brewers now taking good command of proceedings.
But, Ulinzi began to pile in the pressure and Harun Mwale came close with a low shot from range that went just wide, keeper Mike Wanjala at full stretch.
But that was like a wake up call for the brewers and they responded with good defensive play and management of the game. The tie would however be put to rest two minutes to full time when Okoth sent in a low pile diver from range that rested in the bottom left of goal.
As if that was not enough, Tusker cemented the victory in emphatic fashion when Ochieng, who had come on for Meja picked up a pass from Muchiri in a move initiated by Okoth, before he volleyed the ball into the net.