NAIROBI, Kenya, September 22- Gor Mahia scaled to the top of the Tusker Premier League (TPL) for the first time this season in the most commanding of fashions after skinning archrivals AFC Leopards 2-1 in the super charged Shemeji (in-law) derby on Saturday.
The match played at the refurbished Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani with full cacophony of colour and tens of thousands rocking the stands witnessed Ugandan striker, Dan Sserunkuma become a latter day Gor legend by netting both strikes that sunk Ingwe.
Gor’s Croat coach, Zradvko Logarusic, who only linked up with his squad in the morning, milked the adulation of the Green Army who poured to the pitch after the final whistle as if they had won the championship.
“We played well in the first half and they played better in the second but we had the chances and scored twice but they also had theirs which they did not utilise,” the beaming Croat said after securing his first derby win against Leopards to steer K’Ogalo to the top of the table for the first time in ages.
Mike Baraza halved the deficit in the second half but that in the end, the goose appears cooked for Leopards Dutch coach, Jan Koops, who came under fire in the immediate aftermath of the match for his team selection.
“We dominated and created chances particularly in the second period but they did not go in. We did not have any luck today but our title challenge is not over since they have to play other contenders,” the deflated Koops observed.
True to its billing, the atmosphere before kick-off was a throwback to the glory days of the clubs that traded the championship between them unopposed between 1979 and 1993.
The Green Army and their blue and white stripped Ingwe counterparts raised a din that shook the foundations of the cathedral of Kenyan sport to the core when the two sides came to the pitch.
It took only 13 minutes for Sserunkuma to punch Leopards rearguard after reacting fastest to a rebound from a Kevin Omondi strike to tap the ball with Ingwe recalled custodian, Patrick Matasi nowhere in sight.
The Ugandan then produced a finish that enthralled even the opposing Leopards fans 23 minutes later to double the lead when he sent a peach of a shot into Matasi’s top corner as K’Ogalo went to the break 2-0 up.
Credit to them, Leopards who had led the TPL for the better part of the season returned a wounded side and took the game to Gor with the introduction of winger Paul Were giving them the impetus they needed.
Were fed striker Mike Baraza in the 51st minute and the veteran forward beat Gor custodian Jerim Onyango to set up an enthralling second half.
It took dogged rearguard action, wasteful finishing from Leopards particularly striker Allan Wanga and Were as well as a dose of impish time wasting for K’Ogalo to cross the finish line on top after 94 minutes of action.
After the game, Gor fans in delirium invaded the pitch before pouring out to Nairobi’s Thika Road super highway in song and dance as they made their way to the Central Business District 8km away painting the town green.