Ten man Mathare United fought to a goalless draw with Sony Sugar in a SportPesa Premier League match at Ruaraka grounds on Saturday.
MathAre custodian Levis Opiyo was shown a straight red card by centre referee Davis Omweno three minutes from time for a reckless tackle on Sony’s Yema Mwana outside the box.
David Owino was sacrificed for shot-stopper Wycliffe Kasaya, who ensured the Slum Boys keep a clean sheet in the final minutes.
Action was mainly in the middle of the park with both teams occasionally making use of their frontline.
Mathare coach Francis Kimanzi had lined up Opiyo in goal while Lennox Ogutu and George Owino partnered at the back. Former Ushuru midfielder Roy Okay was deployed to do the donkey work in midfield.
Chris Oduor, who was facing his elder brother Fredrick ‘Uche’ Onyango, was responsible for creativity upfront for Mathare.
Salim Babu on his side had Alfred Onyango taking charge of the defence while new signing Laban Gambareko and Ugandan George Abege led the forward line.
Four minutes into the game, Abege almost found the back of the net but his attempted shot was parried away by Opiyo for a fruitless corner.
Mathare’s first chance came in the 21st minute when Oduor found himself inside the area but failed to beat Kevin Omondi in Sony goal. Amos Asembeka won a corner on the 35th minute that Opiyo again did well to get hold onto the ball.
Former Kibera Black Stars forward Ronald Reagan won a free kick for the hosts five minutes after the breather but Ogutu’s shot was blocked by Alfred Onyango with David Owino unable to finish off the rebound.
Second half changes from both teams could not yield a winner from the scrappy affair.
“We appreciate picking a point away from home. It motivates us heading into the next game and a final one before the first round. We did well at the back today unlike the previous games. We just need to now get numbers in the box to get goals,” Babu said.
Kimanzi, despite ruing the red card towards the end of the game, was delighted with the players’ attitude as the fight to avoid relegation continues.
“Looking at the position in which we are I am happy with the performance. The boys showed the passion and mentality to win. I am more pleased with the midseason signings. The entire team is showing good signs which gives us hope,” said Kimanzi.
The draw left the Slum Boys bottom of the 18-team log on 12 points, five below 13th placed Sony Sugar with a game to complete the first round.
Mathare United and Sony Sugar played out to a barren draw at Ruaraka.