Gilbert Fiamenyo came off the bench to save AFC Leopards’ blushes as they laboured to a 1-1 stalemate against a much-underrated Zoo Kericho in the duo’s Kenyan Premier League round 11 clash at the Machakos Stadium, Sunday evening.
Andiya Stanlus had given the visitors an unlikely lead when he headed past Ingwe second choice keeper Gabriel Andika to stun the hosts and frustrate the home fans.
Leopards, who failed to muster a shot on target until the 77th minute, looked destined to suffer a third defeat on the trot until their Ghanaian top scorer slotted home unmarked inside the box following a Robinson Kamura freekick.
The two sides contributed to a pedestrian first half where Zoo came closest to scoring as Nicolas Kipkurui hit the post with a curling effort that left Andika with an injury he would struggle with to the very end.
Leopards were literally head and shoulders above their visitors as Paul Kiongera won a number of headers in dangerous positions but they failed to capitalize. Youngster Harun Nyakha was handed a rare start and he looked lively during the opening half hour but he was caught offside one too many times.
Zoo took time to get themselves on the front foot with their biggest threat coming from Bernard Odhiambo who gave Salim Abdalla a torrid time especially after the interval.
Kiongera made Leopards’ first effort on target in the 77th through a tame effort that was easily gathered by Zoo keeper Vincent Misikhu. On the other end, Odhiambo twice almost doubled his side’s lead after beating Andika to the ball while substitute Kepha Ondati almost missed by inches.
Leopards put the Zoo defence under pressure during the closing quarter hour and were rewarded when substitute Fiamenyo struck home his fifth goal of the season.
A one-all stalemate it ended as both sides collected a point following midweek defeats where Leopards lost at Sony while Zoo’z four-game unbeaten run was ended at the feet of Tusker FC.
The result leaves Leopards 8th on the log on 15 points while Zoo FC are 16th with 9 points.
In other matches of the day, Gor Mahia went two points clear at the top following a 1-0 win away to Nzoia United. Meddie Kagere struck home the game’s only goal. Posta Rangers are second after a barren draw against Nakumatt FC.
Tusker FC’s resurgence continued as they picked their fifth win on the trot with a 2-1 win against Sony Sugar while Kakamega Homeboyz drew 0-0 with bottom side Thika United.