NAIROBI, Kenya, February 21 – Champions Gor Mahia began their title defence on a high after thumping Mathare United 4-2 as the Kenyan Premier League roared off to a goal-laden start across the country Saturday.
K’Ogalo who hosted the 2008 champions at Nairobi City Stadium, were in fine fettle in front of the Green Army with in form Victor Ali Abondo and Michael Olunga scoring a brace apiece on each half while Noah Abich found the back of the net twice for Mathare.
In the earlier televised fixture at the same venue, Western Stima were 2-0 winners over KCB as Duncan Wafula scored an own goal before new signing Etone Esiye sealed the win with a long-range cracker.
Elsewhere, at the Thika Sub-County Stadium, Thika United were held by visiting Tusker FC to a 1-1 draw as Wycliffe Opondo struck first for the hosts before Ismael Dunga equalised for the Brewers from the spot.
At Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium, Marwa Chamberi and Samuel Onyango were on target as visiting Sony Sugar upset Ulinzi Stars lost 2-0.
-Champions on fire-
Gor extended their winning run to the Premier League, just a week after beating Madagascar’s CNaPS 1-0 to give their late Team Doctor Dannis Omondi a fitting tribute after he passed away on Thursday.
Abondo who has now scored five goals for K’Ogalo since returning from Tusker; set the pace at the quarter hour mark when he capitalized on Mathare’s defensive mix-up that saw David Mwangi collide with his keeper Robert Mboya who spilled Abouba Sibomana’s cross for the forward to fire in the rebound to an empty net.
The lead only lasted for five minutes as Abich levelled from the spot after referee Nasur Doka penalized Karim Nzigiyamana for a high boot on Wyvonne Isuza in the box.
With both sides destined to go to the break locked in a one all draw, Olunga finally claimed his debut goal since joining from Tusker FC when headed home on the stroke of half-time and celebrated by lifting up his shirt to show a message ‘God is Able’.
Abich once again lifted Mathare on resumption by restoring parity with a well calculated set piece that easily beat Boniface Oluoch. Doka had awarded Mathare the free-kick at the edge of the box when Eric Mata was pushed by Gor stand in skipper Musa Mohammed.
Nuttall then introduced Rwandan international Meddie Kagere for George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo, as he increased the pace of the game and nearly found his first goal but headed wide Sibomana’s cross.
Gor’s pressure forced Mathare new arrival from Sofapaka George Owino rescue his side after clearing the ball on the line on two consecutive occasions when Mboya had come off his line.
Owino first cleared Olunga’s effort before stopping Kagere’e rebound.
Abondo completed his double on the 74th minute when Mathare’s Harrison Mwendwa miscued a pass to see Godfrey Walusimbi find the former Tusker attacking midfielder who slotted home the third and see Gor recapture the lead.
Six minutes later, Olunga then hammered the final nail to the coffin when Kagere set him for a one-on- one with Mboya and the young striker did well to prove his critics wrong, placing the ball way far beyond the keepers reach.
The league enters its second day Sunday, with AFC Leopards playing Chemelil Sugar in Nakuru, GOtv Shield champions Sofapaka host Ushuru FC in Machakos while Muhoroni Youth travel to Bandari in Mombasa’s Mbaraki Stadium.
Action kicked-off despite Football Kenya Federation going against world body Fifa express statutes by obtaining an injunction stopping the start of the competition on Friday pending a hearing set for March 3 at Nairobi’s Milimani High Court.