The televised crunch tie at a packed Mumias Sports Complex saw Gor extend their lead to the summit to five points as they sustained their winning momentum ahead of their first leg of the KPL Top 8 semi against closest challengers Tusker in Meru on Sunday.
Despite the heavy downpour, Salim lifted K’Ogalo in the 58th minute after heading home left back Godfrey Walusimbi’s cross as the champions took their tally to 29 points after flying in for the match earlier in the day in true swagger.
“We new it would be a hard battle and may be a goal would separate the teams and thanks we got it. We could have doubled but we hit the wood work. I’m very pleased with the boy’s performance and now we shift our attention to Sunday’s game against Tusker.
“The rain did not affect us since both teams played in the same conditions but I was only concerned my players could pick injuries and that’s why I brought off Salim, Musa Mohammed and Dan Sserunkuma to rest them ahead of Sunday’s game,” K’Ogalo coach Bobby Williamson said after the match.
On the other hand, Chemelil coach Mike Mururi, who had gone 12 matches unbeaten blamed the loss to the torrential rain.
“We played very well in the first half where we got a chance but failed to convert. When it started raining in the second half we were unable to play since the pitch was slippery and our opponents got the chance and utilized,” the former Kenyan international affirmed.
K’Ogalo put aside their off field woes once again to grab a sixth successive win and continue to dominate the sugar millers who are still waiting for a first victory over them in four years.
Williamson made only one change from the squad that won 3-1 against Sofapaka; replacing keeper David Juma who picked an ankle injury during training with experienced captain, Jerim Onyango.
The visitors showed their intentions from the start with Eric Ochieng almost opening the scoring in the 17th when he controlled Walusimbi’s cross in the box only for keeper Jairus Adira to deny him with his left foot.
The host responded eight minutes later with Innocent Wafula bringing in a cut in cross from the right but Jonathan Mwaniki and David Oriki who were in the box both missed to tap home.
Gor returned stronger and it only took 13 minutes for Williamson charges to go ahead after Walusimbi’s cross found Salim free in the box to head in past Adira and hand K’Ogalo the crucial three points.
Chemelil worked hard in search of the equalizer but Gor did well to defend their lead despite the heavy downpour for the final whistle that saw them come out victors.
The loss saw Mururi’s side drop to fourth with 24 points.