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Ulinzi, Homeboyz cancel out at Afraha

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Ulinzi Stars came from a goal down to settle for a 1-1 draw with visiting Kakamega Homeboyz in a midweek SportPesa Premier League match at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru County on Wednesday.

The soldiers, seeking to bounce back from their 3-0 loss to Tusker last weekend at Ruaraka, were wasteful during the encounter.

Hassan Kikoyo opened the scoring for the visitors before Masita Masuta levelled matters for the spluttering soldiers at Afraha.

Ulinzi could have taken the lead 12 minutes into the match but club top scorer Masuta’s powerful volley was blocked by goalkeeper Michael Wanyika before Homeboyz cleared their lines.

Two minutes later, Ulinzi came knocking again but Daniel Waweru failed to slot home a Cliff Kasuti cross inside the box.

Homeboyz, fresh from a fourth-place finish in the SportPesa Super Cup last weekend, should have gone one up but Naoh Wafula missed a sitter moments later.

Wycliffe Opondo combined well with Estone Esiye and when scoring seemed to be the easiest thing to do, but the former Sofapaka man fired wide on 22 minutes.

On resumption, Ulinzi coach Dunstan Nyaudo brought in Bernard Ongoma, Churchill Muloma and Enosh Ochieng for Dan Waweru, John Kago and Elvis Nandwa.

The fresh legs seemed to have injected some energy into the soldiers’ forward line but Ongoma fired wide on 63 minutes.

A minute later, a miscalculated backpass from veteran defender Godfrey Kokoyo was intercepted by second half substitute Kikoyo Hassan, who stabbed home the opener past the advancing Ulinzi goalkeeper James Saruni.

Noah Wafula then rattled the woodwork with a thumping header from Hedmond Mauda’s corner kick, to the shock on Homeboyz coach Paul Nkata.

The soldiers, on the backfoot and at home, reacted fast and grabbed the equaliser with 15 minutes from time.

Cliff Kasuti teed up Masita Masuta to tap into an empty net after goalkeeper Michael Wanyika had failed to save his initial shot.

Ulinzi had to play the last few seconds of the match with a man less after Saruni was sent off by centre referee Andrew Juma for fouling Opondo outside the area.

“My boys are still coming to terms with the tough matches after playing in the SportPesa Super Cup and this slowed their pace,” said Nkata.

Coach Nyaudo was satisfied with the draw saying it was a big relief after coming from a 3-0 thumping from Tusker last weekend.

“It is better to salvage at least a point at home rather than extending the losing streak,” said Nyaudo.

Ulinzi take on Bandari at the same venue on Sunday while Kakamega Homeboyz will play away to Nakumatt.