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Gor silence AFC Leopards in Mashemeji Derby

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Gor Mahia forward George Blackberry Odhiambo celebrates after scoring against AFC Leopards in the Mashemeji Derby on May 7, 2017. PHOTO/ Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – Goals from Meddie Kagere, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo and Timothy Otieno were enough for Gor Mahia to silence arch rivals AFC Leopards 3-0 in the first leg of the Mashemeji Derby at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.

It was a deserved result for K’Ogalo who were the better side for most of the match.

As the side of the Green Army ascended into roaring crescendo, the other  blue half occupied by Ingwe fell into deafening silence.

Immediately after Otieno scored the third goal with eight minutes to go, most of the Ingwe fans walked off the stadium, accepting defeat as Gor retained the bragging rights.

Gor Mahia coach Mercelo Ferreira looking at his watch.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

The two coaches made changes to their line-ups, both in terms of personnel and team formation.

AFC Leopards’ Stewart Hall started with Samuel Ndung’u in the left side of defense in place of Marcus Abwao while Allan Katterega, a left footed offensive player was thrown into the deep end, playing on the right side of defense ahead of Andrew Tololwa.

Gor’s tactician Ferreira played Wellington Ochieng out on the left side of defense with Godfrey Walusimbi was pushed into midfield to play alongside Ernest Wendo with the returning Kenneth Muguna playing ahead of them.

AFC Leopards coach Stewart Hall worried.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Of the two experiments, it was Hall’s that blew out massively. Katterega’s strength defending on the right side was time and again pricked by the Gor side who dumped most of the balls on his wing.

AFC Leopards’ central defensive pairing of Salim ‘Shittu’ Abdallah and Robinson Kamura had a half to forget with jitters leading them to making basic errors. In the second minute an attempted pass back to Joshua Mawira by Abdallah was intercepted by Timothy Otieno.

The striker then put his partner Meddie Kagere through on goal, but the Ugandan-born Rwandese’s effort to cut to his right to attempt and shoot was futile as he slipped allowing the backtracking AFC Leopards defense to clear out the mess.

Another error in the 17th minute, this time by Kamura found Kagere who controlled the ball once to face goal but his attempt at a shot was awry with the ball flying over to waste Otieno who was screaming for it.

Gor were more relaxed, passing the ball around with ease as if it was a training session. Wendo in midfield was superb, doing well to win all the second balls and spraying the forward passes with ease.

Their patience paid off in the 19th minute and it was gift from another defensive gremlin. Harun Shakava looped the ball upfield and it was met by Otieno who kneed it above the onrushing AFC Leopards keeper Ian Otieno and Kagere had the simplest of tasks to guide the ball into an empty net.

Gor Mahia Meddie Kagere celebrates with Timothy Otieno.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Immediately, AFC Leopards sought to make a response with Ndung’u flying away on the left but his dangerous cross into the area was fisted away by Gor custodian Boniface Oluoch as Mungai Kiongera was racing to it.

Gor though continued to knock and they ultimately managed to get the second in the 36th minute, another simple movement through midfield seeing Odhiambo dink the ball over Ian Otieno off his line after racing to a Muguna through pass.

Goalscorer Odhiambo however, had to be substituted a minute to the break after picking up a knock with his place taken up by Francis Kahata.

-Second half-

Photojournalist shooting the Mashemeji Derby.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

At the start of the second half, Hall made a change, withdrawing Abdallah for Abwao who came and slotted straight into the heart of defense.

With the change, Katterega was given the freedom to move upfront freely with Ndung’u sticking to left wing while Kamura manned the right side of defense.

But still, it was Gor who had the bigger chunk of chances Six minutes after the restart, Walusimbi had a low shot hit the upright after swinging the ball into his favorite left foot from a short corner.

Kagere also had the rebound go against the bar but the assistant had his flag up for offside.

On the hour mark, Ingwe had a chance to half the deficit but Bernard Mang’oli’s volley on his weaker left foot was over after Kamura’s freekick wasn’t defended well by Gor.

Gor Mahia George Odhiambo against AFC Robinson Kamura.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Gor kept their tempo up with AFC Leopards struggling to find some rhythm and Ian Otieno was forced into a full stretch save to keep away a low shot from Karim Nizigiyimana at the edge of the box.

Hall made another change, pulling out Ndung’u for Andrew Tololwa. The change meant Tololwa went to the right with Katterega switching back to the left.

Still, AFC Leopards could not find anything under their bellies to trouble Gor. With 15 minutes left on the clock, a chance fell on Fiamenyo from a low Kiongera cross, but the Ghanaian could only direct the ball wide under pressure from Shakava.

Gor drove the final nail on AFC’s coffin when Otieno reacted fastest to a save from Ian Otieno, heading the ball into the net with the keeper yet to get back to his feet.

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