Ugandan import Umar Kasumba scored a brace as 2009 SportPesa Premier League champions Sofapaka beat Nzoia Sugar 3-1 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Wednesday.
Kasumba shot the hosts ahead in the third minute but Luke Namanda levelled in the 21st minute. Ezekiel Okare restored Batoto ba Mungu’s lead seven minutes to the break before Kasumba put the score beyond doubt at the stroke of halftime.
“I am happy with the victory. Nzoia has many energetic boys who run the entire game but today we scored early which gave us the momentum. Our aim is to pile pressure on Gor Mahia as we chase for the title,” Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa said.
His Nzoia counterpart Bernard Mwalala blamed his players for missing the killer instinct in the end-to-end encounter.
“We had so many chances to equalise in the first half but my boys failed to convert. Very open chances that could have gotten us back into the match,” said Mwalala.
“It was not a final, this was just another league game and we have to go back to the drawing board to prepare for the next round,” the former Kenyan international added.
Ssimbwa’s side had a dominant start in the match. In the 18th minute, Masuta Masita’s goal was ruled out for an offside by centre referee Israel Mpaima.
Masita had connected home a well delivered cross from Brian Yakhama who had broken down the right flank.
Three minutes later, their efforts were rewarded with a Namanda strike from a tight angle. The winger raced down the right flank, beat Maurice Odipo before slotting past Sofapaka goalkeeper Mathias Kigonya.
A quick one-two in the 37th minute between Kennedy Oduor and Okare yielded the second goal for Sofapaka after Nzoia failed to clear their lines.
Another defensive lapse allowed Kasumba to get back on the score sheet. The former Uganda Police and SC Villa man volleyed a shot from inside the area to the far post.
Nzoia gave in a spirited effort in the second half but Sofapaka’s resolute defending ensured they bag the three points.
Victory for Sofapaka, who over the weekend smashed Nakumatt 5-2 in Narok, took them to second place on 37 points as Nzoia remains on 27 points from 21 rounds.