NAIROBI, Kenya, April 9 – Champions Gor Mahia moved up to second after edging out a five goal thriller 3-2 to pile more woe on KCB as arch rivals AFC Leopards slumped to a shock 1-0 reverse to promoted KRA on a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) bumper Wednesday.
Leaders Tusker stretched the gap at the top to four points after humbling Sony Sugar by a solitary goal to buy breathing space on an action packed midweek programme across the country.
Gor earn revenge
With unease creeping in the ranks of the titleholders after four games without a win, K’Ogalo exacted revenge on the Bankers, who marred their trophy party during the last game of the season via a 2-0 stuffing, to leave them rooted at the bottom.
In the first of a televised double header at Nairobi’s City Stadium, Rama Salim opening the scoring in the 11th minute for Gor before Harambee Stars defender David ‘Calabar’ Owino, returned from sitting out two games with a bang to double in the 47th.
Innocent Mutiso hammered in what proved to be the winner with a spectacular volley in the 61st but Chrispinus Onyango and former K’Ogalo forward Paul Kiongera gave the champions a nervous ending to the match by pulling two back but in the end, they prevailed 3-2.
Gor turned out for the first time in three years without a sponsor’s logo on their jerseys after their partnership with Brookside Dairy’s brand Tuzo lapsed last month.
Coming from a 2-1 loss to Bandari in their last KPL match, coach Bobby Williamson, said his charges deserved to win though he was not happy with the last penalty the visitors were awarded.
“We should have scored many goals since we created a lot of chances that we wasted but I didn’t see them come back to the game when we were leading 3-0.
“The referee gave them a second chance by awarding them the penalty but I’m very pleased with the performance of the boys and the goals that we scored,” the Scotsman said after the match.
His opposite number Abdalla Juma, was also displeased with center referee Israel Mpaima, saying he could have awarded them a penalty in the first half when Onyango was hacked down by defender Haron Shakava.
“I’m not happy with the results and the referee giving us the penalty in the last minute did not help us since it was too late. He could have awarded us in the first half when Onyango was brought down so that we could head to half-time 1-1, but he ignored it something that broke my players morale.
“In the second-half we played well and we came back in the game after I introduced two strikers who joined the other two to attack and it worked since they piled pressure on Gor. I will now focus on our next match against Bandari which will be difficult but my aim is to seek for the first win and the rest will go well from there.”
K’Ogalo showed intent to return to their winning ways just after kick-off with Mutiso attempting the first shot with a volley after Dan Sserunkuma set him up in the box but he blasted wide, only for the attacking midfielder to threaten once again with a cross from the left but the Bankers’ keeper Sammy Okinda rescued the danger.
In the 10th minute, Sserunkuma found Salim in the danger zone but he squandered the chance but 20 minutes later the former Congo United forward finally found the back of the net, heading home after Okinda spilled the Ugandan forward’s strike on the rebound from Geoffrey Kizito’s thunderbolt from range.
Four minutes to half-time Kiongera could have leveled after he found himself unmarked but keeper Jerim Onyango’s palmed out his header for a fruitless corner.
In first half added time, Onyango pleaded for a penalty after he was brought down by Shakava in the box but Mpaima waved for a goal kick.
KCB resumed action firing with Kiongera attempting to score his first goal of the season in the 46th with a well taken free-kick that sailed slightly over the bar.
One minute later Owino headed home Mutiso’s corner to double the advantage, sending the Green Army to raptures and 14 minutes later, it was 3-0 after Mutiso connected with left back Musa Mohamed’s cross to volley in an early contender for goal of the season.
Juma brought in Elvis Ayany and former Gor forward Ezekiel Odera with 20 minutes to full time and his changes paid off in the 78th when Onyango beat K’Ogalo’s defence off-side trap to easily place the ball on the far corner leaving his namesake watching the ball roll over his net to pull one back.
Odera added a second with a minute of added time remaining after he was pushed by man of the match Godfrey Walusimbi in the box and Mpaima did mot hesitate to point at the spot for Kiongera to convert.
Muhoroni hold Thika
In the early kick-off played at the same venue, 10 men Muhoroni Youth held Thika United to a goalless draw in a match that saw visiting keeper Shaban Ouma, deny John Kamau’s charges to earn the player of the match.
Muhoroni had to finish the game one man less after forward Ezekiel Otuoma, was sent-off in the 59th for punching Simon Mbugua.
The host were the first to threaten at the half hour through Joseph Kuria’s 20 yard free-kick that hit the cross bar.
Otuoma responded four minutes later but he ended blazing wide from a promising position before captain, Abbas Akinyemi, was stretched off after aggravating a shoulder injury.
The visiting side had their last chance on the stroke of half-time when substitute Mike Khaduli flicked a header to Jeremiah Wanjala in the box but Ugandan custodian Hamuza Muwonge repelled the effort as referee George Mwai, blew for the break.
“We deserved to do better than a draw since we created many chances than them but I think my players were affected by the hot weather that made the artificial turf uncomfortable to play on.
“Our composure came a little bit late after they were reduced down to one man and that’s why we did not score but I’m satisfied with one point,” Thika United coach Kamau who also serves as the Harambee Stars under-20 coach expressed after the match.
Muhoroni tactician Francis Barasa, was pleased by achieving a share of the spoils.
“I came to this match with one intention and that was to pick a draw and I’m very happy for having achieving that. I congratulate my players for holding Thika on their home ground especially playing one man down in better part of the second-half,” the former Harambee Stars defender who has not lost any match since joining Muhoroni stated.
Tusker edge plucky Sony
At the Ruaraka Grounds, Tusker continued with their unbeaten run to open a four point gap at the top following their slim 1-0 victory over Sony Sugar.
Goal poacher Jesse Were, notched the lone goal in the 25th, picking a fine pass from Luke Ochieng, to dribble past the Sugar Millers defenders before slotting home his fourth goal of the season with Sony dropping to sixth on the log with 12 after the final whistle.
Leopards fall to taxmen
Leopards lost their second match of the season, after they were taxed 1-0 by newcomers KRA at Safaricom Kassarani Stadium that was hosting its first match this season.
Geoffrey Omusula, netted the lone goal on the stroke of half-time to lift Ken Kenyatta’s side two places to ninth on the log with 11 points while Leopards dropped by the same margin to10th.
In Machakos, Sofapaka bounced back to their winning ways following their 2-1 over Mathare United.
Collins Shivachi opened the scores in the seventh before Enock Agwanda, doubled in the 51st as Noah Abich netted the consolation for the slum boys through a spot kick in the 60th.
Back in Nairobi, new coach Briton Tim Bryett, was welcomed with a draw after his charges fired blanks against unbeaten Chemelil Sugar at World Hope Center in Kawangware.
Meanwhile, Stephen Waruru’s 12th minute goal gave Ulinzi Stars a first win of the season to hand new coach Robert Matano his first victory since taking over the military side at the Mumias Sports Complex away to Western Stima.
Waruru broke the deadlock with a well executed free kick from the edge of the box after Evans Amuoka was brought down by the host defender.
Debutants Top Fry Nakuru continued with their winless streak after they were held to a barren home draw by Bandari at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.