AFC Leopards travel away to face City Stars in what is a crucial tie for the two sides who are seeking stability in the lower half of the table. Stars will head in the tie on the back of a 2-1 humiliation to Nairobi University students in the GoTV Shield Cup with former Leopards striker Obadiah Ndege on the score sheet.
Leopards are reeling from a 2-1 loss at home to Mathare United. However, they will be boosted by their 1-0 win away to Chemelil in their last league match.
Nairobi City Stars has slowly turned into one of the boogey sides for Leopards with quite some humiliating scores in recent times even when the side seemed at their best. Leopards will be hoping to get back to winning away to Stars after they successfully won in 2010 and 2011 seasons. The last win at Stars came in April 2011. Subsequently, Stars have dominated their home ties in the last two seasons scoring five goals and conceding one.
The first leg tie held in Mumias saw Jackson Saleh head in an equalizer in the 80th minute to cancel out Dennis Okoth’s opener in the 52nd minute. The tie ended in a draw as Leopards kept their perfect home record against Stars with no loss since promotion to the league in 2009.
Overall, Leopards will look to statistics in the past to spur them through. The side has never lost to Stars in July. Their only losses to City Stars have happened in the May (2012, 2013) and February (2009). The last times he sides met in July was in 2012 when Leopards won the tie 1-0 through a Mike Barasa penalty.
The tie is evenly poised with both a two point difference between the sides and a win for either will be a big boost. Leopards have 19 points while Stars have 17 points and lie in thirteenth and fourteenth on the log for Leopards and Stars respectively.
Stars have conceded five goals at home and scored only four while Leopards away scoring record has been worrying scoring only five on the road and conceding nine. The tie is poised to be hotly contested with City Stars known for their physical approach and counter-attacking play.
Leopards crucially need the points as the pressure piles up on the fans and the technical bench with only seven points adrift of the relegation zone. New signings Humphrey Mieno who scored his debut goal in the 1-2 loss against Mathare United. Leopards can bank on the scoring form of the midfielders and defenders who have scored four of the five goals in the last five matches. Of those, three have been from midfielders and set pieces.
Head coach Pieter De Jongh has openly said he intends to build on using 4-4-2 as his style of play changing the 4-3-3 the side had been accustomed to in the last three seasons. Jacob Keli, Michael Khamati, Austine Ikenna, Noah Wafula, Dennis Dodi and Kenneth Wendo will be tasked with getting the goals based on who starts.