By Tim Musungu
Goals from Jesse Were, Mike Olunga and Ismael Dunga ensured that Tusker cruised to the semi-finals of the KPL Top 8 tournament with a 3-1 win over Mathare United at Nyayo Stadium on Wednesday night.
Tusker were the dominant side in both halves though Mathare gave a good account of themselves.
Jesse Were opened the scores against his former team with a superb shot in the 8th minute, choosing not to celebrate to honor his former side. The goal put Tusker in the driving seat as they looked better composed than they were over the weekend against AFC Leopards.
Their midfield which was made up of Andrew Tololwa, David Ochieng and Collins Okoth was their best package of the game. Ochieng had been drafted into midfield with Mark Odhiambo taking his place at centre back and he never disappointed in his new role.
Gabriel Nduro should have put Mathare level in the 12th minute after Vincent Okello’s well calculated pass found him, but he failed to get the ball into the net with keeper Odhiambo out of his line, saving off his attempt.
In the 19th minute, Mathare had another shot at goal but Orji saw his effort blocked from a cross on the left. Vincent Okello had a stunning free-kick being well saved by Samwel Odhiambo who was well placed to stop the goal bound shot.
Tusker extended their lead in the 35th minute through Michael Olunga who curved in a free-kick that was deflected into the net by a Mathare defender. Tusker had been awarded the free-kick after Lloyd Wahome had brought down Andrew Tololwa at the edge of the box.
Mathare’s resilience never died down and in the 39th and 40th minutes, they had great chances to score, Gabriel Nduro’s free-kick being tipped away for a corner by Samwel Odhiambo.
Tusker made it three in the 59th minute through Dunga, who struck home a cross from second goal scorer Michael Olunga. Olunga had picked up the ball after Joseph Rutto failed to clear to safety a David Ochieng’s free-kick, which found Dunga in the area with the former Sony man hitting it home.
Mathare had a rare chance in the second half via Vincent Okello, with his shot going just wide after a good run on the left.
On the other end, Moses Arita who had come on for Olunga missed a superb chance from a Jesse Were cross.
Tusker had a goal disallowed in the final minutes with Jesse Were seemingly having bagged his brace, but the referee disallowed the goal judging that the keeper had been infringed.
Mathare pulled one back with 11 minutes to play through sub Meshack Karani, a probable contender for goal of the tournament, with a superb shot into the top right corner from the edge of the box.
Mathare United however, left the pitch smiling as Vincent Okello was awarded man of the match despite their defeat.