Rodgers Ouma’s first half thunderbolt secured a hard fought 1-0 win over FC Talanta at the Ruaraka Complex on Saturday, taking Tusker FC to within three points of league leaders Kakamega Homeboyz.
Two efforts came off the bar in the second half, but the points were secured with a spirited display from the boys.
After a slow start to the game, the boys slowly grew into the game and had their first chance in the 16th minute when Shami Kibwana played a quick one-two change of passes with Rodgers, but his low shot was deflected for a corner.
From the eventual set piece, Isaac Kipyegon floated in an inviting corner, but Humphrey Mieno’s header flushed just wide. In the 27th minute Shami had another chance when he changed passes sweetly with Shaphan, but his rasping shot went wide.
The pressure finally bore fruit in the 32nd minute when keeper Patrick Matasi played a long ball to Shaphan who glanced it down to Rodgers. The midfielder controlled before firing a belter into the net.
Six minutes later, another brilliant chance popped up when Shami sent Shaphan through on goal. The midfielder took a heavy first touch but the ball ricocheted back to him. He set up Lawrence Luvanda but the latter’s shot went wide.
In the second half, Talanta once again started strong, but luckily, the backline stood tall to ensure the scores remained the same.
On the hour mark though, the team pushed up the tempo. In the 63rd minute, Shami did well to dance away from his marker, but his eventual left footed shot was turned behind for a corner by the keeper.
The team had back to back efforts come off the woodwork. In the 65th minute, Shaphan made a run on the right before shooting low, but the strong effort hit the upright and kindly fell back to the keeper.
Two minutes later, John Njuguna, with virtually his first kick of the game after coming on for Shaphan was denied by the woodwork after striking a left footed shot inside the box when Kipyegon’s long throw wasn’t cleared well.
At the tail end of the game, Njuguna should have sealed all three points when he did well to skip beyond his marker inside the box, but his right footed curler went just over.