This was a match pitting the 2nd and 4th on the League table. It was also a 3rd away match on the bounce for MEFC who haven’t been good in their travels. The weather was perfect, not sunny but just right in terms of temperatures and there was a good breeze. The match got underway through the center referee’s blast of the whistle.
Given that they were at home, Kitaka were first to settle and made some half chances but nothing that troubled Kassim who was keeping goal. Once MEFC settled they managed to forge some attacks but these were thwarted by the Kitaka defense even before we made it to their box. Their marauding No.10 started making runs and causing attacks troubling our defense.
A poorly defended delivery into the box presented the Kitaka with a chance to score and take the lead…and take the lead they did. A bubbling low cross was met at the far post and even before Kassim started his despairing dive the ball was already tapped in from close range and into the net. Joy on the faces of Kitaka players, concern on the Eagle players.
Going one up increased the confidence in the Kitaka players. They were now playing a spring in their steps. They were quick to most of the balls and we kept withdrawing towards our goal. A punt upfield was chased down by Paul but the goalie came to collect. In the ensuing determination to each get to the ball first, Paul and the Kitaka goalie collided resulting to Paul leaving on a stretcher with a painful knee injury. The half drew to a close with neither side threatening the other.
No sooner had the second half began than the MEFC got a freekick at the edge of the KFC. From the resultant freekick we managed to draw level. Charles put in a delightful cross into the far post which was first dummied in the air by K. Othieno deceiving the keeper and leaving Max with a simple header which he buried in the right-hand corner.
The momentum was now with the Eagles and they notched several waves of attack but they couldn’t add to their goal. Kitaka on the other hand were slowly finding their feet after they conceded. Several interchanges of passes allowed them to get chances at goal. These were mostly long-range goals that were way off target. The home crowd started intimidating the referee whom they thought was favoring us. We thought it was the other way around.
When with 8 minutes to go, a corner from the left side was met powerfully giving Isaac, substitute keeper, no chance at keeping the ball out. That made it 2-1 to their favor. Cue the celebrations from their supports. Now everything was right with the world and the referee was doing a fine job. The Eagles looked dejected as they went to the center to restart the game. Another wave of attack from Kitaka drew a freekick just outside our 18-yard box. The defensive wall was set up ready to block the kick. The freekick taker expertly made the wall redundant as he hit it with guile to the roof of our net. In a matter of 5 minutes we had let in 2 goals and lost the game.
We trudged to the center to do a restart but the boys were finished. Without adding any extra minutes, the referee brought the match to a close.
The Mombasa Eagles will feel that they gave a good account of themselves but poor concentration in the last minutes cost the team at least a point to show for their endeavors. We hope that come Saturday against 11 Stars FC the team will be ready to defend their home turf which they haven’t lost a match in and scoring 9 goals in their 2 matches played.