NAIROBI, Kenya, October 19 –George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo was the hero for champions Gor Mahia by netting the winning strike in a 1-0 win over Mathare United to inch a step closer to defending the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title at a jam packed Nairobi’s City Stadium on Sunday.
The win saw K’Ogalo restore their four point lead over Sofapaka on 54 and need their closest challengers in their next fixture in Machakos to be crowned winners with two matches to spare.
“The match was good, very entertaining and fans kept us going. I’m very happy to get that result. Odhiambo is doing well he just need to keep the same tempo until the end of the season.
“We are not thinking about Sofapaka right now, we will take a day off and resume training Tuesday to prepare for that match,” Gor head coach Frank Nuttall said in a post match interview.
Mathare head coach Stanley Okumbi conceded defeat and is now focusing on their next game against Sony Sugar.
“We did not utilize our chances well and that led to us conceding a cheap goal but the game was perfect,” Okumbi stated.
K’Ogalo who are yet to taste defeat at their City home ground got their first chance in the 16th minute after Mathare midfielder Harrison Mwenda gifted Timothy Otieno a pass but keeper Robert Mboya was well positioned to rescue the threat.
The Slum boys responded two minutes later with David Mwaura setting Mwandwa off with a through pass but Gor keeper Jerim Onyango came off his line to deny the Harambee Stars midfielder.
The opener for the hosts could have come in the 20th after Otieno raced from the right to beat Mboya who came off his line, to cross in but Dan Sserunkuma failed to rise to the occasion as defender Edgar Ochieng cleared the ball off the line.
K’Ogalo were forced to make early substitution after Otieno picked a knock to be replaced by Daniel Onyango in the 33rd.
The all important goal came two minutes later when Odhiambo headed a Sserunkuma well floated cross from the right past Mboya to send the Green Army into jubilation.
The visitors nearly equalised in the 37th through David Mwangi’s set piece that rattled the woodwork as they trailed the champions at the break.
The second-half saw Mathare search for the equaliser but they could have been punished by Geoffrey Kizito but the Ugandan failed to capitalise on Noah Abich’s blunder at the edge of the box.
Gor had to thank defender David Owino for keeping them in the game when he cleared substitute Emmanue Ibe’s effort after Onyango’s poor back pass landed on his right foot in the 73rd.
On the other end Mboya denied Odhiambo a brace after stopping his shot in the box from a Walusimbi corner but they managed to hold on to collect maximum points and keep their title defence alive.
Elsewhere, Samuel Onyango grabbed a brace for Sony Sugar in a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Nairobi City Stars at Awendo’s Green Stadium.
Sony took the lead in the 11th after receiving Marwa Chamberi’s long ball to loop over keeper Kevin Omondi, before adding a second in the 70th from Victor Ademba’s cross to smash home the winner.
The loss saw City Stars miss a chance to close on KCB’s four point gap and they now remain rooted at the drop zone on 20 points with three matches to go.