The end result was a 0-0 draw when Nairobi City Stars hosted Kenya Police in a reverse round 28 FKF Premier League tie played in Ruaraka on Sunday 1 May 2022.
The cagey affair could have gone either way but City Stars will have to thank keeper Jacob Osano to thank for pulling massives saves in the second half to register his eleventh clean sheet this season, and 12th for Simba wa Nairobi.
Police also survived the death when a Timothy Ouma freekick smacked the crossbar with the keeper well beaten.
Simba wa Nairobi had the earliest of chances to disturb Police when Augustine Kuta – who had been handed his first start ever at City Stars – floated a freekick in the second minute that Sven Yidah headed out at the far post.
A minute later Kuta was in the box Police and fired for goal only for his effort to get a clearance. The visitors responded immediately when Duke Abuya got the ball outside the box and fired straight at City Stars keeper Jacob Osano.
Two minutes later, Kuta was in the Police box again, only to fire high up. And again, Duke responded with a shot on the other end only for Osano to check the effort at the near post.
Four minutes later, Osano spilled a ball off a Duke shot, and the best striker Clinton Kinanga could do was hit the side netting from the rebound.
In the minutes that followed, Cliffton Miheso wasted a freekick and had a header go wide as City Stars wasted a freekick and a corner.
In the 34th minute, Sven received a yellow card, the first in the game, for an alleged foul on Abuya. Four minutes later Police stopper Silicho Soita was also carded for a check on City Stars striker Ezekiel Odera.
In between, City Stars stopper Wycliffe Wiked Otieno – playing his first game of the season, and the first premier league game since 14 August 2021 – saw his header off a Herit Mungai freekick fly just wide.
Police responded in the dying minutes of the first half with a long-range effort from Miheso that went straight to Osano. His freekick, later on, won fruitless back-to-back corners ending the action in the first half.
Inside four minutes of the second half, Police had two near-misses as Kinanga wasted a cross from left-back David Owino Ambulu as Miheso headed straight at Osano.
City Stars then tweaked their lineup bringing on Elvis Noor Ojiambo for Kuta who had been out marked after switching with John Kamau from the right to the left-wing towards the close of the first half.
City Stars spurred to life and Elvis’s sibling Timothy dinked the ball just past the goal as Kamau was stopped at the edge of the box with a run on goal.
Within three minutes as the clock read 55 minutes, center ref Dr. Peter Waweru Kamaku was forced to hand out three yellow cards; one to City Stars stopper Kenedy Vidic Onyango for a foul on Kinanga, and to Kamau for a high boot. Police skipper Musa Mohammed also got his booking after a challenge on Kamau.
At the hour mark, flyer Rodgers Okuse Okumu came on for Kamau and ten minutes later a double change saw the arrival of Lennox Ogutu for an injured Wycliffe Otieno and Nicholas Kipkirui for Odera. The next minute, Police brought in winger Alvin Mangeni for Miheso.
In between the changes, Timothy Ouma took a freekick that earned a wasted corner that went straight to Police keeper Juma.
In the 75th minute, Kinanga could have handed Police the lead but an agile Osano saved his point-blank effort.
Two minutes later there was panic at Ruaraka after a dashing Oliver Maloba collided with Police keeper Juma and the medics made an emergency rush to attend to him.
After close to three minutes of stoppage, he was stabilized but was unable to continue with the game. And with City Stars substitution slots already exhausted, the team had to play a man less for the rest of the game.
With the numerical advantage, Police raided the City Stars box but fluffed virtually all their chances. On the other end, Timothy had a freekick go straight to keeper Juma before his sibling Elvis fired a ball, off a Kipkirui effort, that ended up with to the same keeper.
In the final minute of the game, Osano did the unthinkable when he fingertipped a David Simiyu close-range would-be deciding header for a corner that Police failed to utilize. Simiyu had only been on the pitch for less than a minute after coming on for Silicho.
But the final drama of the evening rested on teenager Timothy who smacked the crossbar with a precise freekick in the fifth minute of added time. It earned a corner that yielded naught as the game came to a close.
Okuse, on full flight mode on the left, earned the freekick leaving right back Lusaka with a yellow card.
From the Labour Day result, City Stars remains fourth with 46 points as Police maintained the 13th spot with 31 points.
Next up for City Stars is an away game to Wazito on Sunday 8 May 2022 in Kasarani starting 3 pm.
Nairobi City Stars: 16. Jacob Osano, 8. Calvin Masawa-captain , 28. Herit Mungai, 22. Wycliffe Otieno (27. Lennox Ogutu-70), 25. Kennedy Onyango, 18. Sven Yidah, 20. Timothy Ouma , 15. John Kamau (7. Rodgers Okumu-60), 29. Augustine Kuta (2. Elvis Noor-50), 32. Ezekiel Odera (17. Nicholas Kipkirui-70)
Unused subs: 1. Elvis Ochoro, 5. Michael Madoya, 12. Edwin Buliba, 26. Dennis Wanjala, 14. Rowland Makati,
Out: Out: 3. Charles Otieno, 4. Salim Abdallah, 6. Ronney Kola, 9. Vincent Otieno Okoth, 10. Peter Opiyo, 11. Davis Agesa, 19. Kevin Okumu, 23. Stephen Njunge, 24. Erick Ombija, 30. Anthony Kimani, 31. Mohammed Bajaber
Coach: Nicholas Muyoti
Kenya Police: 31. Juma Reuben, 13. Collins Lusaka, 5. Musa Mohammed-captain, 20. Duncan Otieno, 3. Silicho Soita (15. David Simiyu-89), David Owino Ambulu, 12. Charles Ouma, 24. Leslie Otieno, 23. Cliffton Miheso (17. Alvin Mangeni-71), 40. Duke Abuya, 21. Clinton Kinanga
Unused subs: 35. Job Ochieng, 18. Harun Shakava, 11. Erick Kipkirui, 7. David Oluoch, 28. Alex Luganji
Coach: Sammy Pamzo Omollo
Cautions (Yellow cards)
Nairobi City Stars: 18. Sven Yidah (34), 25. Kenedy Onyango (55), 15. John Kamau (57)
Kenya Police: 3. Silicho Soita (38), 5. Musa Mohammed (58), 13. Collins Lusaka (90+)