NAIROBI, June 23 – Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia are through to the GOtv Shield round of 32 after eliminating Lang’ata Gremio 3-0 at Nairobi City Stadium on Wednesday.
Meddie Kagere sent K’Ogalo ahead in the 14th minute before George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo doubled the lead in the second half.
Liberian defender, Dikir Glay completed the rout in the 79th to see Gor avoid a repeat of last year where they were eliminated at the first round by minnows GFC 105.
Gor assistant coach, Frank Ouna who was in the dugout in the absence of head coach, Frank Nuttall who is away on holiday, said Gremio gave his side a good preparation ahead of Saturday’s KPL second-leg trip to Chemelil Sugar.
“It’s a good team considering they are playing in the County League. They have good players and we will remember them for giving us a good game that will help go forward in this tournament. Our attention is on Saturday’s game where we intend to use our first signing Enoch Agwanda,” Ouna said.
His opposite number, Nicholas Ochieng hailed his charges for showing a spirited fight against the giants.
“The boys tried their best because it was a high intensity game. I appreciate their effort because many thought we could lose by a big margin since the team is growing.”
Ouna, who rested most of his regulars including first choice keeper, Boniface Oluoch for Jerim Onyango and Michael Olunga for Odhiambo upfront, saw his boys dominate the game but squandered a lot of chances.
Gremio keeper, Ibrahim Odhiambo had a hard time stopping Ronald Omino’s fierce shots before the 2012 winners got their opener at the quarter hour mark when Kagere raced on Glay long ball to see his first touch trouble the keeper before slotting home.
Four minutes later, Karim Nzigiyimana failed to double the lead and open his account when he blazed over from the spot after Kagere was pushed in the box.
Gor continued to pile pressure on the Nairobi County League side but Kagere wasted a glorious chance when his bicycle kick went over after Odhiambo spilled Nzigiyimana’s cross.
Moments later, Odhiambo who was named the man of the match stretched to parry off Omino’s long range effort towards the break.
The resumption saw Innocent Wafula miss an open chance after tapping over an empty net from a Timothy Otieno cut in cross from the left.
Odhiambo made the amends when he smashed past the keeper with a low shot from the edge of the box.
Eight minutes from time, Glay headed between Odhiambo’s legs from Nzigiyamana’s cross to give Gor their first win since coming from a three-week KPL break.
Other regulars rested were, KPL top scorer Ali Abondo, defenders, Musa Mohammed, Harun Shakava, midfielders, Collins Okoth, Khalid Aucho and Godfrey Walusimbi.