Butali on the brink after holding off Jaguars
Western Jaguars coach Michael Malungu hailed his side’s resilience after their second half fightback against Butali Sugar Warriors fell just short, losing a five-goal thriller after they had fallen 3-0 behind in the opening half.
Butali made a rapid start with Zack Aura, Ammos Barkibir and George Mutira all getting on the score-sheet inside 35 minutes but Jaguars pushed back in the second half through strikes from Allan Mallit and Emmanuel Wiswa.
The result on Saturday stretched Butali’s unbeaten streak to 15 matches and left them just one point to within defending their Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Premier League title.
“It was a game of two halves. Butali were so good and efficient in the first half but we came back stronger in the second half and mounted a good comeback. It’s a shame we still lost the match,” Malungu observed.
Malungu looked forward to their upcoming matches saying they have made notable strides since the start of the season and they hope to finish strongly.
“We have worked on our defensive phase and you could see how we contained situations today. Let’s prepare for the next match and hope we come out victorious.
His Butali counterpart Dennis Owaka paid tribute to the opposition, saying: “Jaguars are a very good and organized team, and they have a very good coach We came in with a game plan to press them high in the first quarter, unfortunately they dominated the midfield and our game plan actually worked against us. It’s a massive win because it takes us closer to the title.”
It was a cautious start for both teams as each team looked to establish the tempo early in the first half. It was Butali who opened the scoring as they raced to a one goal through the impressive Aura in the 16th minute.
Sustained pressure on the Western Jaguars goal saw Butali double their lead on the 26th minute through Barkibir and moments later Mutira put them 3-0 on the 35th minute up to much applause of the on-watching Butali faithful.
That would be the last meaningful action in the game as half time approached with scores unchanged.
Western Jaguars returned with renewed energy for the second half and their sustained pressure bore fruits in the 44th minute when they pulled one back through Mallit.
Butali’s shaky start to the second half continued as smart midfield play by Western Jaguars proved uncontainable and forced them to conceding a penalty stroke in the 52nd minute.
The jaguars made no mistake as Wiswa scored their second of the evening to set up a tense end to the match.
Butali meet Wazalendo in their next match where a win or draw will surely seal the title for Sugar Warriors.
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