NAIROBI, Kenya, July 24- Gor Mahia cleaned the spots off archrivals AFC Leopards with a 3-1 victory at a capacity packed Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday to move within three points of Kenyan Premier League (KPL) leaders Tusker.
The tension filled match was sealed by a first half goal from Wycliffe Ochomo and further efforts in the second half from former AFC player, Demonde Selenga and Dan Makori who came on after the breather.
KPL top scorer, Mike Baraza, netted the consolation close to regulation time for Leopards who paid the ultimate price for catastrophic defending that left them vulnerable to counter-attacks.
“I’m very happy for the win and commend AFC and all the fans for making the occasion a good game. The aim now is to keep our shape and aim for our objective of winning the league,” Gor coach, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno said post-match.
Selenga, who joined the select class of players who have scored for both teams in the Kenya Derby, came off the bench to inspire the win after Ochomo had capitalised on slap stick defending to put his side a goal to the good on 13 minutes.
The Congolese national scored Gor’s second minutes after coming on 62 minutes when he headed in from close range after Leopards custodian Bernard Tiema spilled a cross from Edwin Lavatsa.
On 80 minutes, Selenga completed the haunting job on his former employers when he ghosted in from the right, moved to the by-line at pace before cutting back the ball to fellow substitute Makori to tap in.
“Laying the ball to my team mate for the third goal made me happier than scoring because this is what the coach had told us to do, play as a team,” Selenga who left AFC in the past transfer window under a dark cloud of controversy stated.
He added: “I’m delighted to make Gor fans happy by scoring against AFC. I also scored for AFC against Gor and this makes me so happy and I can look forward to helping my team achieve its goal,” Selenga said.
Despite producing four goals, the tension associated with playing in the most charged fixture in domestic football and a packed stadium filtered to the pitch.
It was AFC who got off the blocks blazing when Bernard Mangoli picked up a loose ball from the edge of the area and sent a ferocious effort clashing to the cross bar on two minutes.
Gor midfield anchor, Collins Okoth, was injured in the initial exchanges and was soon replaced by Anthony Akumu but by then, K’Ogalo had sent their fans into raptures when Ochomo, who seconds earlier had seen his effort cannon off the bottom of the post, raced to space vacated by Kisuya and Amboko to slide the ball past Tiema.
Baraza almost levelled at the half hour mark with a stinging effort that just flew wide before he missed an even better chance to equalise on 58 minutes when Jimmy Bagaye sent him through on goal.
“In the first half we didn’t play the way we talked about, we played the long ball but in the second half, we played football, controlled the game only for Gor to score because we were not solid at the back,” AFC septuagenarian coach, Jan Coops said.
Despite security fears, the game was played at good spirit with fans in good voice as the security operation promised passed with flying colours.