NAIROBI, Kenya, June 14 – Gor Mahia captain, Jerim Onyango, produced a brilliant display as the champions salvaged a point against KRA in a barren stalemate at Nairobi’s Safaricom Kasarani Stadium on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Lawrence Kasadha scored a late equalizer to help Nairobi City Stars thwart Western Stima in a 1-1 stalemate at the same venue.
Wesley Kemboi gave the visitors the lead in the 21st minute before Kasadha headed home in the second minute of added time to snatch away the win from Stima.
In the highlight fixture of the televised double header, K’Ogalo extended their lead at the top of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) by a point to 30, three ahead of Tusker FC despite failing to win their two consecutive matches.
Onyango, who was named the man of the match, was at his best after rising on several occasions to deny Geoffrey Kataka who was blazing and Joseph Mulume.
“I’m disappointed we did not win the game and at the end we were about to concede a goal after they got through with Onyango and I’m glad the captain did his job and saved us.
“I believed in him but it’s a game that we could have won if we had used our chances from the headers well but this was not our day of scoring,” Gor head coach, Bobby Williamson said after the match.
His opposite number, Ken Kenyatta, was disappointed for not piling further misery on the champions following their last week derby loss to arch rivals AFC Leopards.
“We tried our level best but we didn’t get the maximum points that we had hoped for since we got many chances that we did not convert but maybe next time I will try and win the game.
“Our forwards were sensational but did not score so our next game is a must win because I didn’t come in the league to enjoy but to win,” Kenyatta, a former Kenyan international keeper said.
Williamson made two changes from the squad that lost 3-1 to Leopards with Harun Shakava replacing Ugandan Israel Emuge in the defence while Kevin Ochieng stepping in for Musa Mohammed at the back.
The Taxmen on the other hand made the same number of alterations with Philemon Otieno and Joseph Mulume benching former Gor defender, Ivan Anguyo and former City Stars midfielder George Mwangi.
Both teams entered the match hoping to bounce back from loses with the newcomers having a good run in the first-half but captain Onyango rescued K’Ogalo from conceding three goals.
Harambee Stars latest call-up Kataka had a sterling performance after managing to breakthrough the visitors defence on several occasions but lady luck was not on his side.
The forward came close in the third minute from the right with a shot that forced Onyango to punch for a fruitless corner.
Gor responded in the 14th with Rama Salim and Dan Sserunkuma combining well upfront but keeper Philip Odhiambo denied the former.
Kataka was at it once again after six minutes with a long shot but could cold not trouble Onyango who calmly picked the ball.
Sserunkuma could have scored the opener in the 25th but Odhiambo tipped-off his bicycle kick.
The taxmen who are unbeaten at home, continued to pile pressure with Mulume having a chance to punish K’Ogalo after winning the ball from defenders from a set piece failed to hit the target.
Kataka could have broken the deadlock in the 28th with his shot but Shakava did well to clear the danger, but that did not stop Kenyatta charges from attacking as Liberian import Roosevelt Blatty set Mulume who beat Oluoch to unleash a cracker but Onyango once again punched the ball away.
Gor missed a rare chance in the 35th when Timonah Wanyonyi had a good run from the right, speeding past defender Edwin Misiko but his cross went begging.
Douglas Okumu, could have gifted Gor the opener with two minutes to the break after his back-pass was trapped by Sserunkuma, only for Odhiambo to deny him.
On resumption, Gor came in strong in the first 20 minutes with Salim feeding their top scorer Sserunkuma who went past Misiko but Odhiambo repelled his strike for a fruitless corner.
At the hour mark, Salim failed to slot home Wanyonyi’s cross as Kenyatta pulled out Mulume for Mwangi.
His substitution was effective as the former City Stars midfielder came close with a free header that forced Onyango to punch over the bar.
In the 73rd, Eric Ochieng hacked down Kataka inches outside the box for a Mwangi to take a superb free-kick that Onyango rescued.
The visitors had two open chances in the dying minutes through Salim and Sserunkuma but both failed to find the back of the net for the two sides to share the spoils.
The results saw KRA remain fifth on the log on 24 points.