NAKURU, Kenya, May 4- Nakuru came to a standstill on Saturday evening following a Green Army invasion occasioned by Gor Mahia’s 2-0 win over Muhoroni Youth in a Kenyan Premier League match.
Jubilant K’Ogalo fans marched through the city causing a spectacle as they celebrated a first Kenyan Premier League win in three as first half goals from Dan Sserunkuma and Kevin Omondi stemmed the slide.
Gor captain and custodian, Jerim Onyango, came to the fore in the second period as Muhoroni piled forward in a bid to reduce the deficit, thrice being forced to acrobatic saves to thwart the charging opponents with former Tusker FC striker, Joseph Emeka, playing a prominent role.
“We had to make changes in among the players and the attitude they had before this game. We had a good game in the first 20 minutes but we allowed them in during the second half,” Gor coach, Zradvko Logarusic said after the encounter played at Afraha Stadium.
“As you saw, my boys lost concentration in the opening minutes but in the second half, they came out strongly and played very good football. The result is not good but we still can make the top eight,” his opposite number, Alfred Imonje remarked.
Needing a perfect platform ahead of a difficult week where they face champions Tusker in the KPL Top 8 semi-final on Wednesday and the Shemeji derby against AFC Leopards on Sunday, Gor went to the game determined to force the result early.
They were rewarded for their early pressing when Sserunkuma, who came under fire for his limp display during the 0-0 draw against Kakamega Homeboyz, floated in a ball in the 12th minute that was headed home by Omondi with fellow striker, Rama Salim, aiding the effort by blindsiding the keeper.
Roaring, K’Ogalo who had a forward line of three that included Edwin Lavatsa went on the foray and eight minutes later, busy Sserunkuma was rewarded when his cross cum shot nestled into the corner although it was debatable whether
Victor Ali Abondo had the last touch.
K’Ogalo then released the foot from the pedal allowing Muhoroni back to the game as the first half petered out.
In the second, keeper Onyango came to the fore, acrobatically tipping an Emeka shot over the bar five minutes in as the former Tusker forward reverted to his renowned menace in the box.
Two further close shaves earned the keeper his corn before Gor held on to the win.
“Our players took it easy in the second half after playing well in the opening period but we are glad with the win,” the keeper said post-match.
Turning to Tusker and Leopards, Logarusic was coy offering, “I will think about it tomorrow,” when pressed further, he added, “For Tusker, we go to defend our trophy, Leopards is far away still but we will prepare for them.”
“We met Tusker at the same stage last season and knocked them out and that is what we intend to do on Wednesday.
“AFC is a big match and fans of both teams expect them to win the match. For us, it is a game we must prepare well since we are on track to win the title and winning games like against AFC means you can achieve that goal,” Onyango stated.
“The game against AFC is big I agree but it should not be overhyped since that creates tension among the fans. As a club, we wish to give our fans good football and we will do that against AFC or any other team,” Gor chair, Ambrose Rachier, expressed.
For Emeka, moving from Tusker to Muhoroni and transferring to the sugar belt will take some adjusting to but he is keen to cope.
“I came here to help Muhoroni since I felt I had done all I could at Tusker. My aim is to rediscover my scoring touch but this team needs a creative midfielder who can supply the ball to the strikers since I had to go back to midfield to collect the ball.”
Elsewhere, Homeboyz restricted front runners, Sofapaka to a 0-0 draw as they continued to make life difficult to title challengers in their first season in the top flight.