NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – Defending champions Tusker FC are one step to the final after Brian Osumba’s goal silenced Gor Mahia 1-0 in the first leg of KPL Top 8 semi-final at a rocking Meru’s Kinoru Stadium on Sunday.
The former KCB midfielder scored the solitary goal in the 46th minute to break the Green Army hearts who had traveled in their hundreds to rally behind their team.
Brewers need a draw of any kind to book them a successive final as they remained on course to be the first team to retain the title.
“A good game though a tough one since it is a tournament and we needed to get advantage because we were playing at home. We enjoyed the game at least we had a good first half but there was mixed reaction when we scored and that what we wanted just to make sure we utilize our home advantage.
“It’s still a hard fight since it’s a knockout, Gor needs a goal to equalize and that makes it tight,” Tusker head coach Francis Kimanzi, stated after the win.
“It was a tough game, they dominated possession but most of it was on their own half so we will rectify that in the return leg. We were planning to defend and probably not to concede but unfortunately we did forcing me to make offensive substitution so that we can push the game. We promise them a tough game in the return leg,” K’Ogalo Team Manager Francis Ouna who was standing in for bereaved head coach Bobby Williamson, said.
With both sides entering the match from KPL wins, Kimanzi made two changes from the squad the beat City Stars 1-0 bringing on Harambee Stars left back Aboud Omar for his first match of the season replacing Athman Mbuki while Andrew Tololwa stepped in for Bob Mugalia.
K’Ogalo who were playing without their head coach and assistant John ‘Bobby’ Ogolla who is recuperating after being hospitalized last week saw stand-in Team Manager Francis Ouna made no changes.
Playing in Meru after 15 years, the visitors were outclassed by Brewers who were attacking now and then with Kevin Kimani coming close twice in the first 10 minutes but was denied by captain and keeper Jerim Onyango after completing a set piece from Clifford Alwanga, Martin Kiiza and Khalid Aucho before defender Musa Mohammed cleared his shot.
The host could have doubled in the13th but missed two clear chances that forced Onyango to pull saves after spilling Aucho’s free-kick only for Lloyd Wahome to head wide.
The Kenyan international custodian had to come out of his line to clear danger that could have been the opener for Tusker, if Alwanga had reached Kimani’s through pass as both sides shared the spoils at a barren draw to the break.
Lady luck seemed to have knocked on Brewer’s door upon resumption with Osumba breaking the deadlock 15 seconds after the breather from Alwanga through pass that beat defenders for last season’s midfielder of the year to notch his second successive goal.
Kimani once again missed a chance from a close range after good combination from Osumba, Alwanga and Tololwa to blast wide.
Ouna brought in Shaba Kenga for Erick Ochieng as well as pulling out Dan Sserunkuma for Timonah Wanyonyi but the two could not sustain the pressure neither break through the solidified defence of Jockins Atudo, Omar, Wahome and Kiiiza as Kimanzi proved too good against the league champions, picking maximum points to head to the return leg with a 1-0 advantage.