Elvis Rupia registered a hat-trick as AFC Leopards picked up a 3-0 win over Sofapaka in a Football Kenya Federation Premier League match on Saturday at Kasarani.
Rupia will continue to be the leading scorer in the new season given that he has scored six goals after matchday three.
Benjamin Ochan, who was making his first start in the season, made a great save in the third minute to keep the scoreline at 0-0 when he swept away a clinical low drive from Ellie Asieche.
AFC Leopards could have registered an opener in the 18th minute but Titus Achesa’s quick reaction to clear Robinson Kamura’s header saved the moment for Sofapaka.
Michael Karamor would have opened his Premier League account in the 41st minute had his effort found the back of the net. The midfielder saw his shot went narrowly wide even though he had managed to beat Ochan in goal.
AFC Leopards broke the deadlock in the 48th minute when Rupia, who had scored a brace against Bidco United in the last game, aimed at goal and Kevin Omondi could do little to stop the ball from getting into the net.
It took the former Nzoia Sugar and Wazito FC striker another six minutes to add the second for Ingwe as the league giants looked a solid, resolute and a more determined outfit in the second half.
The day went from good to better for Rupia as he scored the third for AFC Leopards four minutes after the hour mark.
John Baraza, whose side was destined for a second loss of the season, made a change in the 75th minute when he introduced David Simiyu for Roy Okal in an attempt to deal with Ingwe’s dominance in the midfield.
The change, in the end, could not deny the hosts a third straight win.
Peter Thiong’o was given his debut by Anthony Kimani while Fabrice Mugheni and Bienvenue Shaka started for the first time. The changes did not look to affect the performance of Ingwe but rather they looked sharper as they registered a second consecutive clean sheet.
The Sofapaka game was viewed as a real litmus test for AFC Leopards as they attempt to mount a successful title charge after 22 years of waiting.
AFC Leopards XI : Benjamin Ochan, Yusuf Mainge, Robinson Kamura, Collins Shichenje, Isaac Kipyegon, Fabrice Mugheni, Said Tsuma, Peter Thiong’o, Bienvenue Shaka, Jaffery Owiti, Elvis Rupia.
Subs : Jeff Oyemba, Harrison Mwendwa, Marvin Nabwire, Washington Munene, Collins Olilo, Boniface Mukhekhe.
Sofapaka XI : Kevin Omondi, Willis Obayi, Roy Okal, Lawrence Juma, Michael Kibwage, Ellie Asieche, Michael Karamor, Sammy Imbuye, Jedinak Nana, Sebastine Sunday,
Subs : Richard Aimo, Mohamed Kilume, Faina Jacobs, Ambrose Sifuna, Brian Nyakan, Bryson Juma, David Simiyu, Nixon Omondi, Kepha Aswani.