AFC Leopards emerged 1-0 winners against Ulinzi Stars in a Football Kenya Federation Premier League tie played on Wednesday in Kasaarni.
Peter Thiong'o scored for Ingwe in the 77th minute to award the 13-time league winners with a hard-fought but deserved home win.
AFC Leopards recovered to deny Ulinzi Stars an opener in the 17th minute after Oscar Wamalwa's failed to act quickly after he was sent through on goal. The Harambee Star took too long to pull the trigger and invited the home side to recover and clear.
Elvis Rupia was stopped by a raised offside flag after he ran to collect a good pass from Harrison Mwendwa ending a nice build-up by Patrick Aussmes' side. Mwendwa was greatly involved again in the 38th minute when he collected the ball after a melee inside the Ulinzi Stars area but his final shot hit the post with goalkeeper James Saruni all but beaten in the process.
Saruni denied Rupia again two minutes before the half-time break when he pulled a key save to punch the forward's free-kick away.
In the 46th minute, coach Benjamin Nyangweso made two changes as he brought on Omar Boraafya and Ibrahim Shambi for Clinton Omondi and Elvis Nandwa respectively. Aussems also made changes in the opening moments of the first-half when he withdrew Said Tsuma and Mwendwa as Caleb Olilo and Said Tsuma came on.
Ingwe engineered another ambitious combination between Owiti and Yusuf Mainge but the latter's effort was equally dealt with by Saruni to stop AFC Leopards score an opener in the 56th minute. Owiti was later replaced by Thiong'o as the search for the first goal continued.
Saruni, in the 66th minute, stood tall and denied Olilo a very clear chance for the Nairobi club who were the more dominant side since the second-half began. But almost 10 minutes later, AFC Leopards grabbed an opener when Thiong'o struck to give them a deserved lead. Austin Odhiambo did well to outwit Ulinzi Stars defenders before he passed the ball for the scorer.
Another change for AFC Leopards was in the 86th minute when Tedian Esilaba, who was making his debut, was injured and was replaced by captain Robinson Kamura.
AFC Leopards XI: Benjamin Ochan, Yusuf Mainge, Tedian Esilaba, Clyde Senaji, Isaac Kipyegon, Fabrice Mugheni, Said Tsuma, Jaffery Owiti, Bienvenue Shaka, Harrison Mwendwa, Elvis Rupia.
Subs: Jeff Oyemba, Lewis Bandi, Robinson Kamura, Austin Odhiambo, Hansel Ochieng, Marvin Nabwire, Caleb Olilo, Eugene Mukangula.
Ulinzi Stars XI: James Saruni, Harun Mwale, Boniface Andayi, Bonaventure Muchika, Byron Odiaga, Bernard Ongoma, John Kago, Elvis Nandwa, Clinton Omondi, Dan Waweru, Oscar Wamalwa.
Subs: Timothy Odhiambo, Omar Boraafya, Ibrahim Shambi, Alex Masinde, Churchill Muloma, Mark Bikokwa, Michael Otieno, Daniel Njuguna, Oliver Ruto.