KISUMU, Kenya, July 10- Ali Bai scored late as Kakamega Homeboyz put to an end a run of seven consecutive wins for champions Gor Mahia with both sides settling for a 1-1 draw in a match played at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Sunday.
Meddie Kagere had marked his return to the club on a sound note, continuing from where he left in November last year, scoring the opener in the second half, but his hope of crowning his second coming with a win for his side was thwarted by a hard fighting and determined Kakamega Homeboyz.
It was the visitors who posed the first threat at goal in the seventh minute when Stephen Wakhanya blasted over after Musa Mohammed’s clearance of a Robert Ouma free kick went only a few metres ahead of him.
However, it was Gor who would be celebrating first when Kagere ran into the near post to tap in a low cross from George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo.
K’Ogalo had transited in lightning pace from defense to attack with Erick Ouma winning the ball on the half way line and releasing Francis Kahata who spread the ball wide for Odhiambo to cross.
The defending champions however struggled to deal with Homeboyz’s long balls and twice were almost caught out only being let off the hook by some poor decision making by the Kakamega based side.
Andrew Murunga’s shot after bringing down the ball was blocked before Karim Nizigiyimana was forced to turn the ball behind for a corner with Bai breathing on his neck.
Mike Mururi’s charges thought they had levelled the score in the 20th minute after Murunga rose to head in a free kick from Athman Buki but the second assistant referee had his flag up for offside amidst protests from Homeboyz players.
Homeboyz showed they are not minnows and worked hard to put Gor off, the biggest of their tasks being shutting out Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge who were K’Ogalo’s threat upfront.
Andrew Murunga forced Gor keeper Boniface Oluoch to a diving save five minutes to the breather with a rasping shot after Moses Mudavadi brought down a deep cross for Murunga to fire at goal.
Three minutes later, Murunga turned provider, knocking down the ball for Ali Bai but Oluoch managed to come off his line and cover.
Gor were almost the one stealing the limelight at the break with Tuyisenge coming inches close to his ninth goal of the season, heading wide from a pinpoint Innocent Wafula cross.
At the start of the second half, Muiruri sought to go with a two man pin-point attack, pulling out Steve Wakhanya for new signing Meshack Karani.
Ten minutes later, he brought in a twin substitution, pulling out Murunga for David Odhiambo and Abbas Akinyemi for Andrew Kulecho.
Homeboyz took up the fight for possession and forced Gor to do more of the defending, though nothing clear cut came off in the final third.
Gor tactician Jose Marcelo Ferreira made an eyebrow raising change, pulling off the Ernest Wendo for attacking midfielder Amos Nondi.
The change meant they played without a defensive midfielder with Kahata now tasked with doing the work infront of the back four when Gor lost possession.
Homeboyz came inches close in the 65th minute when substitute Odhiambo’s shot from the left rolled wide after some good build up from the visitors, Kulecho putting the striker through on goal.
Gor had some moments of pressure and in the 80th minute, they came close when Moses Chikati almost turned into his own net a cross from Kahata but his keeper Mike Wanyika managed to react well to leap and tap the ball away for a corner.
Two minutes later, Homeboyz were celebrating the equalizer. Moses Mudavadi picked the ball on the left, jigged past his marker to lay in a wonderful cross that Bai volleyed into the net coming in from the blind side of the defense.
The goal pumped Gor up back from their sleep as they realized they were on the way of dropping points for the first time in seven matches.
Nondi came close to getting the three points back with an 87th minute shot that was spilled by Wanyika, but the keeper managed to bounce back and pick the rebound as Tuyisenge raced in to try and capitalize.
Gor would have gone top with three points but now only move to second with 30 points, separated from Mathare United with a superior goal difference.