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It was a beautiful display of football from both sides, but none of them was too generous to give away a goal. Sofapaka came closest but were denied by the post

2009 Kenya Premier League (KPL) champions Sofapaka settled to a scoreless draw with rivals Ulinzi Stars in a tough match played at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru on Friday.

It was a beautiful display of football from both sides, but none of them was too generous to give away a goal.

Both teams played compact football and minimized playing space. Sofapaka came closest of the two to finding a goal but were denied by the post on the half hour mark.

Sofapaka started better in the opening half playing the game to Ulinzi. Hillary Echesa and Titus Mulama combined their years of experience to build up some good play for Batoto ba Mungu.

Ulinzi were ever cautious never allowing Sofapaka to play the ball within their 18 yard area and this paid off as Jacktone Odhiambo was never a busy man in the first half.

His first call to action was in the 30th minute, tipping off a ball from Hillary Echesa after an Obadiah Ntarumbwa corner. His entire defense was caught off the mark, but they were lucky as Odhiambo’s punch fell on the bar and went out.

In a quick counter attack, Sofapaka found themselves on the receiving end, failing to clear a corner from Stephen Waruru, Josiah Okello got at the end of it after a scramble just outside the 18 yard area but his goal was ruled off for offside.

Anthony 'Muki' Kimani playing at right back, lived dangerously for Sofapaka, receiving an early yellow card after a heartless tackle on Stephen Waruru. He narrowly evaded being sent for an early shower after sweeping Waruru off his feet for the second time after the latter beat him on the ball.

In the second half, Sofapaka tactician David Ouma sensed that his boys might finish the game with ten men with “Muki’s” dangerous tackles. He pulled out Kimani and brought on Osborne Monday.

Ulinzi’s approach in the second half was more positive as they played the ball more upfront. In the 65th minute, Stephen Ocholla came close to breaking the deadlock but he failed to meet a cross from Ismail Ibrahim.

Flashy touches from substitute Justine Onwong’a helped him past three Sofapaka defenders, slotting through the ball for Ocholla but the latter failed to beat Duncan Ochieng with his lofted ball flying off target.

Stephen Waruru who had a great game was a constant threat to the Sofapaka backline but his frequent deliveries inside the box failed to meet a striker to finish off the job. Not even Ochomo’s introduction late in the match could change the scoreline as Sofapaka were disciplined in their backyard.

Both teams have four points after Friday’s results. Sofapaka next play Gor Mahia while Ulinzi Stars will be traveling to Kakamega to play Western Stima.

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