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Night of KPL long knives as Gor, Tusker lose

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 22- It was a night of shocks in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) on Wednesday as promoted Muhoroni Youth stunned Gor Mahia 1-0 as Western Stima bottled champions Tusker FC.

The televised match at Nyayo National Stadium witnessed arguably the biggest upset of the infant season when former Thika United player, Geoffrey Simiyu got to the end of a lightening breakaway to seal the match in the 77th minute.

Collins Okoth had the glorious opportunity to level matters deep into stoppage time when Muhoroni conceded a penalty for handball but to the horror of the Green Army, he stepped up to sky his spot kick and moments later, it was all over.

Muhoroni who scaled to the top flight after winning the Nationwide League last season had their keeper, Joseck Gathongo, the man of the match, to thank for his impressive shift between the sticks as he formed a one man barrier against the marauding Gor.

“I cannot explain what happened. Muhoroni took their only chance to score and my team failed to find an answer. I had told them not to underestimate them and they did not do that,” Gor visibly stung Cameroonian coach, Anaba Anono said post match.

His opposite number, Alfred Imonde was beside himself as his players celebrated a famous victory.

“I’m the happiest man this evening. We knew Gor would attack us from the start and I told my team to hold their shape at the back. There are 16 teams in the KPL and they should be ready to face Muhoroni,” he declared.

The hero of the hour, Gathongo was in such ebullient mood that he charged, “I would have saved the penalty if it was on target. Today, we played confidently and we got the points.”

Smarting from a 3-0 defeat in the CAF Confederations Cup preliminary round first leg encounter in Maputo, Gor arrived for the Nyayo National Stadium match and got off to a rampant start with Tony Nyangor guilty of spurning their first opportunity.

K’Ogalo then met Gathongo in defiant mood as Dan Makori threatened to send the Green Army to raptures as the half ended in a barren stalemate.

The second half saw David Oriki send a forewarning of what was to come when he forced the largely spectator in Gor’s goal, Ivo Mapunda to extend his reflexes.

It was left to Simiyu to send in a low precise shot past Mapunda when a rapid turnover of play saw Hassan Mwinyi play him in acres of space to pick his spot for the all important goal.

As Gor fans began trooping out of the stadium to beat the traffic, four minutes of added time were flashed and in the second, the referee pointed to the spot after a goal mouth melee saw Gathongo parry the ball thrice but one of his defenders handled in the box.

A tense Okoth took a measured run-up before sending the ball high and wide as some of the disgruntled Gor fans who were nearing the exits returned in the hope of cheering a dramatic equaliser.

Having enjoyed previous visits to Bukhungu, champions Tusker saw their CAF Champions League barren stalemate hangover against APR stagger to Kakamega when Nelson Simwa netted just after the break to condemn Sammy Omolo’s charges to a 1-0 defeat.

On Wednesday, the KPL secretariat announced the highly anticipated Sunday clash between the beaten sides had been postponed to allow national team Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi more time with the selected players from the domestic league.

The development that also affected Mathare vs KCB and Rangers vs Western Stima will definitely give Gor and Tusker ample time to lick their wounds.

Muhoroni will be at home Chemelil Sugar in the only Sunday match that survived the deferment and from Wednesday night’s huge result; the wind has surely been put on their sails.

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