NAIROBI, August 19 – Champions Gor Mahia warmed up for Sunday’s Mashemeji Derby by dropping points for the first time in three matches after bottom side Nakuru All Stars held them to a 1-1 draw in a mid-week Sport Pesa Premier League played at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
Unbeaten K’Ogalo were on the score sheet after two minutes of play when Josephat Oyugi conceded an own goal from a Michael Olunga delivery but substitute Lnamba Bebetto spoiled the party when he levelled for All Stars on the 69th.
The stalemate that saw the back-to-back champions with a match in hand open a 12-point lead at the top on 55 points after 22 matches, leaving them need four wins to retain the national title for the third time in a row.
Coming from a 3-1 triumph over relegation threatened Nairobi City Stars, head coach, Frank Nuttall who returned to the dugout made four changes with goal poacher Meddie Kagere, midfielders Godfrey Walusimbi, Innocent Wafula and centre-back, Harun Shakava relegated to the bench.
Enock Agwanda, Ali Abondo, Ronald Otieno and Bernard Odhiambo who took the regulars starting positions did not disappoint in the first-half that could have seen the 14-time record champions double the lead five minutes to the breather through Agwanda but the mid-season signing only hit side netting.
Harambee Stars custodian, Boniface Oluoch was up to the task to deny Titus Achesa whilst Boniface Akenga and former Gor striker Patrick Oboya were wasteful for the Nakuru based side.
The second-half saw skipper Musa Mohammed clear Akenga’s shot off-the line before the match was stopped on the 58th after the floodlights went off to resume five minutes later.
All Stars nearly gifted K’Ogalo a second own goal when George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo unsettled the defence a minute before Bebetto levelled matters with a brilliant acrobatic kick.
Oboya was pulled out for former AFC Leopards defender Amon Muchiri as head coach Peter Okidi looked up to snatch the point that they did to remain rooted at the bottom of the log on 15 points.
K’Ogalo now shift focus in Sunday’s crunch where they host bitter rivals AFC Leopards as they seek to reclaim the bragging rights from the cash-strapped Ingwe who are yet to lose to Gor since 2012 after both sides played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg.