NAIROBI, Kenya, February 8- Gor Mahia coach, Bobby Williamson, has a slim first leg lead to take to Libreville in a fortnight after a Dan Sserunkuma penalty sealed a 1-0 victory over US Bitam in their CAF Champions League preliminary tie at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.
The Scot was delighted with the performance, but said they will have to improve in the second leg to secure passage into the first round where a glamour tie against Tunisia giants Esperance, the club K’Ogalo famously beat to lift the 1987 Africa Cup Winners Cup, awaits the winner.
“The boys played very well but I don’t think it was classic since we created many chances that we could not score in the first half, but it’s important we picked the win at home.
“We will rectify on our mistakes next week in training and I’m sure we will post good results in the second leg, since we will have played one league match that will keep our players fit ahead of the match,” the former Uganda Cranes coach said after the match.
K’ogalo could have gifted the visitors with an early lead in the 10th minute when captain Jerim Onyango handled a Harun Chakava back pass to the custodian but referee Denis Batte from Uganda, waved play on after Bitam pleaded for an indirect free-kick inside the box.
Five minutes later, the hosts seized the initiative with the returning Rama Salim heading off-target but the cleared ball found Junior Bayono on the right flank but he directed his strike straight to Onyango’s arms as Bitam countered.
Emmanuel Ndomba fouled Godfrey Walusimbi inches from the box for a free-kick with another returning K’Ogalo star, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo, blasting the effort straight to the wall for a fruitless corner.
Odhiambo was at it again, with a well taken free –kick to Rama, but the forward missed to connect with the ball.
Henri Joel squandered Junior’s delivery in the 31st as Onyango came to Gor’s rescue, punching Axel Meye’s powerful header for a fruitless corner.
Odhiambo had a chance to take his side on the lead to the breather but his shot went whistled just past the right post.
Three minutes later, Junior beat Mohamed Musa and trained his sights on beating Onyango but Harambee Stars international David ‘Calabar’ Owino, cleared the danger as both sides shared the spoils at half-time.
On resumption, Meye could have broken the deadlock with his shot that Onyango stopped.
Shaban Kenga, picked the ball from the middle and passed to Dan Sserunkuma, but Bitam custodian Yves Stephane, responded swiftly to avert the danger.
In the 61st, Batte gave Stephane a straight red card, after the keeper handled outside the box to thwart Sserunkuma who was bearing down on Gor but an out-of-sorts Salim squandered the resultant free-kick.
The Ugandan forward who was growing in prominence eased through the visitor’s defence to unleash a cracker that substitute Owono Fabien smothered with expertise.
Four minutes later defender Erwin Nguema handled Sserunkuma’s shot and Batte pointed to spot kick and the Ugandan picked himself to send Fabien to the wrong direction to break the deadlock as the Green Army rose in raptures.
The Ugandan international could have notched his brace in the 79th but his well taken strike hit the bar.
In the dying minutes, Musa brought in a fine cross that found substitute Jared Obwoge but the striker spurned the chance when he stopped the ball instead of unloading a first-time shot allowing the defenders to clear the danger.
Meye ventured forward for the visitors from on the right flank, but his shot was repelled by the excellent Onyango to preserve the lead ahead of the return in Libreville.