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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Murhanda, Kitale Shine as Coast Teams Struggle in COPA Nationals

Western provincial champions, Murhanda Boys began their 2014 COPA Coca-Cola tourney with a 2-1 win over Tana Boys as the under-15 national championships entered day two at the Hope Center in Kawangware.

The Group ‘B’ topdogs were involved in an even battle with little separating them until the dying minutes when Tana conceded a penalty which was drilled in with consummate exposure by Murhanda’s Benson Anguva.

Tana leaped in front with five minutes on the clock, Hillan Kesi slicing open the Murhanda defence before slotting home to put the Coast outfit ahead.

The early morning shower rendered the pitch slippery but that didn’t deter the young boys from entertaining the crowd with swift moving football. Murhanda piled on the pressure for an equalizer but their efforts were thwarted by the opposition goalkeeper.

A flurry of corners however gifted Murhanda a chance to level and so they did, Elias Shitambasi letting fly from outside the area to make it 1-1 heading into the interval.

The second half was equally even with neither teams having the cutting edge to hurdle ahead. However, with two minutes before the final whistle, the referee gave Murhanda a lifeline after gifting them with a penalty which Anguva expertly converted.

The win puts Murhanda at the top of Group ‘B’ which also has defending champions JMJ who drew 1-1 with Angaza in the first match.

Kitale Youth were on song against Tharaka Stars handing the Eastern champions a 4-0 humbling. Elly Saenyi opened the scoring for the Rift Valley side with Eric Wafula doubling the lead before the breather. Saenyi netted his second with Kennedy Mwendwa’s stunning strike in stoppage time completing the rout.

In the ladies’ matches, Eastern side Kirindara Starlets were head and shoulders above Coast's Mombasa Starlets who they clawed 3-1.

Kirindara dominated their Coast opponents from the off and it took only seven minutes for them to take the lead, Caren Mukiri finding the back of the net at second attempt. The goal gave Mombasa a wakeup call as they instilled urgency into their game. However, it was Kirindara who continued creating better chances which eventually saw them double their lead at the quarter hour mark through Nanice Mwendwa.

Emma Ongayo won and converted a free kick to draw one level for Mombasa who trailed 1-2 heading into the second half.

Kirindara picked up from where they left piling more pressure on Mombasa who conceded the third barely five minutes after the restart through Josephine Kathambi with the match ending 3-1 in favour of the Eastern outfit.

Shinyalu Girls were held to a barren draw by Cherangany Starlets in spite of finding the back of the net three times but all the goals were ruled offside. Beijing Raiders also won on the day beating Kibra Queens for the umpteenth time.

Tomorrow, defending champions JMJ Academy will be back on the pitch when they play Tana Boys in a must win match for the both sides. Murhanda will face Angaza as Tharaka lock horns with Young Muslims.

Nyamira Ladies versus Mombasa Starlets, Maragwa versus Kirindara and Kibra Queens against Cherangany will be the ladies’ matches.