NAIROBI, April 26 – Unstoppable champions Gor Mahia opened a two point lead at the summit of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) after taxing Ushuru FC 2-0 in a lively encounter at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
Gor’s win saw them maintain their unbeaten start to season with six wins and two draws and head coach Frank Nuttall said they will carry the tempo to the next fixture against Ulinzi Stars.
“The win shows the mentality of the players and technical bench has been magnificent. It’s just shows the level of motivation and mentality to want to win games,” Nuttall stated after the victory.
Coming from dropping points to Sofapaka who held them to a barren draw last weekend, Gor took control from kick-off with youngster Michael Olunga and Rwandan Meddie Kagere partnering well to keep Ushuru custodian, Samuel Odhiambo busy.
Olunga who missed the crushing 3-0 defeat to Botswana with the Under 23s since he was sitting for exams rattled the crossbar after 30 seconds with a powerful header from Kagere’s lofted pass from the right flank to set the tone for the afternoon.
Ushuru defence was put to test on several occasions with Richard Mboyi forced to clear the danger from Godfrey Walusimbi cross minutes before Odhiambo rescued Olunga’s rebound after Abuoba Sibomana’s shot was blocked.
Ken Kenyatta’s backline found themselves in trouble at the half hour mark when Olunga capitalized on David Otieno’s poor back-pass to punish Ushuru with a low finish past an exposed Odhiambo.
The hosts introduced Evans Kiwanuka for Robert Omunuk but that could not stop K’Ogalo from attacking as Davies Ikocheli cleared Kagere’s close range shot off the line from an Ali Abondo corner on the stroke of half-time.
Despite Ushuru upping their game in the second half, it was Kagere who doubled the lead for the champions two minutes after the restart when he headed home Olunga’s back-flip pass to send the Green Army into jubilation.
Three minutes later Walusimbi nearly extended the lead after a brilliant run from the left but Odhiambo did well to narrow the angles and force him to the side netting.
Ushuru then pulled out Barack Odhiambo and Nelson Simwa for Allan Katerega and Roosevelt Blaty in a bid to come back but the champions held firm.
Gor keeper Boniface Oluoch denied Kiwanuka twice, after spilling his shot in the 69th for Karim Nzigiyimana to clear the danger before tipping over the substitute’s effort over the bar five minutes later.
Kiwanuka was not lucky either as his powerful header hit the woodwork as Gor introduced Innocent Wafula for Olunga to run down the clock.
Elsewhere, Jackson Macharia scored the winner as Thika United stopped Nairobi City Stars 1-0 to climb second on 18 but the champions who have a game in hand against Sony Sugar.