Tusker retained the Football Kenya Federation Premier League title after beating Posta Rangers 2-0 at Ruaraka Ground on Sunday.
The Nairobi club will remain Kenya’s champions after finishing ahead of Kakamega Homeboyz on goal difference. Homeboyz were awarded three points after their final day opponents, Kariobangi Sharks, did not show up at Mumias Sports Complex.
Meanwhile, goals from Shaphan Siwa and Jackson Macharia were enough for Tusker, who struggled for positive results in the opening stages of the season, to win the title with 63 points in the end.
Last season's winners finished on +23 goal difference, while Homeboyz were on +19.
Despite protests from his teammates, Rangers’ David Ochieng collected a yellow card in the 12th minute after he elbowed Tusker’s Ibrahim Joshua.
The Brewers created their clearest chance in the 16th minute when Shami Kibwana – after he picked up a cross from Kelvin Monyi – launched a ferocious strike that flew inches wide as the visitors struggled to contain the hosts.
Ten minutes later, the home side took the lead after Kibwana’s clever run down the right-wing. The former Homeboyz star beat two Rangers players before he delivered a good pass into the box that was met by Joshua. Joshua’s shot hit the post, but Siwa was at the right place to tap the rebound in for the opener.
Siwa could have grabbed a brace in the 40th minute – after a poor clearance by Rangers defenders - but his final shot inside the penalty area went over the bar.
In the 43rd minute, the defending champions were presented with another wonderful chance to double their lead. After another marvellous run, Kibwana found Joshua with a good pass, and the Tanzanian went for an overhead kick, but goalkeeper Kelvin Opiyo was equal to the challenge as he collected the ball.
As the second half began, coach Robert Matano made two changes at once; Siwa and Kibwana – who were quite outstanding in the first half – were withdrawn, and Lawrence Luvanda and Macharia came on.
In the 56th minute, Rangers threw Joshua Nyatini and Victor Ndinya into action, who replaced Jackson Dwang and Caleb Olilo.
Macharia almost made an instant impact on the game after coming on when – in the 49th minute and outside the box – fired an ambitious long-range strike that went narrowly wide. He attempted the same trick, but he saw his shot go out again in the 65th minute.
Matano made two more changes in the 66th minute when he brought on Stewart Omondi and Deogratious Ojok for Eric Zakayo and Joshua, respectively.
In the 72nd minute, Rangers went close to getting a goal when Nyatini’s pinpoint shot was parried away by Patrick Matasi, who was almost caught off guard in Tusker’s goal.
Macharia eventually got on the scoresheet when he found the back of the net in the 79th minute. After Omondi’s brilliant run behind Rangers defenders, he volleyed the ball into the penalty area and Macharia just tapped it home for Tusker’s second.
In the 84th minute, Monyi was shown a red card for his second yellow card. The red card, however, did not stop Tusker from claiming victory and defending the Premier League title.