NAIROBI, Kenya, March 10 – Haythem Goeini notched a hat-trick as Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia crashed out of the CAF Champions League with a 5-0 spanking to Esperance Spotive de Tunis in the return leg of their first round tie at Rades Stadium on Monday.
The two-time winners progressed to the second round with 8-2 aggregate win after making light weather of the match postponed due to heavy downpour on Sunday to leave Gor wishing the game could have ended much sooner.
Gor coach Bobby Williamson in a bid to chase an unlikely victory since his side were trailing 3-2 from the first leg in Nairobi, started with Timonah Wanyonyi, Kevin Oluoch and George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo, to hunt for early goals.
But in the end, Esperance enjoyed a stroll at the Rades turf as Gor capitulated in the second half after Goeini opened the scoring a minute to the break with a close range volley following calamitous defending with Dan Sserunkuma who netted the opening goal in Nairobi seeing his shot saved by the keeper in their attack of note in the early exchanges.
At that stage, Ahmed Akakhi had missed a penalty mid first half when his strike came off the post but despite failing to score on the night, the number nine took Gor, particularly Musa Mohammed, to the clinic on the left flank which he tore into with the freedom of the city, almost at will.
Esperance ruthlessly exposed Mohammed’s weakness on the left to score all their goals as Goeini notched his double three minutes after the break for 2-0 and 5-2 on aggregate after being fed by the marauding Akakhi to slot in past replacement keeper, David Juma.
Deflated, Gor soaked in two sucker-punch goals, with Juma, who had kept his side in the game with three first half saves the culprit. On 55 minutes, Juma, punched the ball back to the feet of Ghanaian forward Harrison Aful for 3-0 and two minutes later, gifted the grateful Goeini his hat-trick when he once again parried a shot to his path.
Bouba Aminoo almost apologetically slotted the ball in with 74 minutes gone to complete the rout and five minutes from the end, Williamson hauled off Mohammed to spare him further embarrassment as Esperance turned the contest that was on a knife edge at the start to a training ground match.
Esperance engaged in a spot of Tiki-Taka as the board went up for two minutes added time to complete the harsh lesson as Gor return to pick up the pieces of a title defence with the motivation of returning to the completion next season.
Times have changed since 87′ when Gor beat Esperance to the Africa Cup Winners Cup and Williamson has the task of bringing the side back to the Champions League to make up for the lost time.
Esperance advance to face Real Bamako of Mali in the second round having made a bold statement of intent.