NAIROBI, Kenya, September 15 – It was honours even between Sofapaka and Gor Mahia as their much anticipated Kenya Premier League (KPL) fixture ended 1-1 on Wednesday.Buoyed by vociferous fans at Nyayo National Stadium, Gor skipper Julius Owino put his side ahead with a well taken penalty in the 45th minute after his Sofapaka counterpart James Situma handled the ball in the box.
Harambee Stars striker John Baraza brought the defending champions back in to the game with a brilliant tap in the 52nd minute to ensure his side secured a point and liven up the race at the top of the standings.
“The second half was not good for us. Sofapaka are a very strong team. Definitely they were going to come back and get the equalizer,” said Gor coach Zedekiah Otieno.
Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa was equally not pleased with the outcome of the fractious encounter.
“We dominated the game from the word go, but they were awarded a fake penalty as usual. We saw the same thing in the first leg but we came back again and scored,” said Ssimbwa.
Bob Mugalia had another memorable game for the blue shirts and signaled his intent with the first shot on target after cruising down the near touchline but his effort was gathered by Kogalo keeper Frederick Onyango.
Collins Okoth and Francis Ochola caused nightmares for the Sofapaka backline by carving them up on several occasions with George Odhiambo playing a supporting role.
Ochola had the chance to put Gor ahead in the 13th minute after he was teed up by Okoth but his effort went wide.
A mad scramble then ensued in the Sofapaka’s box soon after with Dan Makori and Ocholla having several bites at the cherry but the hardworking Idrissa Rajab cleared the danger.
The first half wore on without much incident until the 42nd minute when Osborne Monday took advantage of poor defending on the Gor flank to set up Baraza.
The league’s top scorer turned his markers inside out to steer clear on Kogalo’s goal but his shot rattled the side netting.
On the stroke of halftime, Gor were awarded the penalty despite heated protests from Situma and Co. and Owino converted for the half time lead.
Ssimbwa put on Allan Wanga a minute into the second half and his presence began to tell as the blue shirts laid siege on Kogalo’s goal.
Despite tension creeping into the champions ranks, they finally settled into the game after Braza scored.
Mugalia gathered a pass on the far touch line and then delivered a low cross into the box for Baraza to notch his 13th goal of the season and tie the game.
Otieno through in Baldwin Ngwa and Ivan Anguyo to steady the Gor ship but a second goal was still hard to come by for the legendary who eventually shared the spoils.