NAIROBI, July 26 – Gor Mahia avoided the threat of Tanzanian giants Azam FC in the quarterfinals of the Cecafa Kagame Cup by beating Djibouti Telcom 3-1 in at the Dar-es-Salaam National Stadium on Sunday top top Group A.
It was a fitting way for the club to mark the send-off of US President, Barack Obama, who left Kenya less than an hour after K’Ogalo completed the preliminary round unbeaten on 10 points after notching three wins and a draw to book a date with South Sudan champion, Al-Malakia.
Home side Yanga FC beat former Gor star Anthony Akumu’s Khartoum National Club 1-0 in the later match to set up a potentially explosive Tanzanian derby with the dreaded Azam after nicking the Sudanese to second spot in the final.
George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo turned the back the clock to 2010 when he was Kenya’s finest after conjuring up a brilliant solo goal after 12 minutes before that man, Michael Olunga, notched the second and his fourth on the 28th for a 2-0 half-time lead.
Youssuff Osman halved the deficit in the 73rd before Enoch Agwanda sealed the win four minutes later for his first goal since joining Gor mid season.
Having already secured a quarter-final berth, Gor head coach, Frank Nuttall rested nine regular starters to bring in his reserve team lead by keeper Jerim Onyango who captained the side in the absence of centre back Musa Mohammed.
“I’m very excited to score my first goal of the tournament although it was tough since I was not playing in my usual position. We are ready for ant team in the quarters,” Odhiambo, who was named the man- of- the-match, said after the win.
K’Ogalo made their intentions known after only three minutes with Olunga forcing Telecom keeper, Nzokora Jeff to parry his ferocious shot at full stretch.
The keeper could not stop Odhiambo’s fine opener when the 2010 KPL Player of the Year dribbled past three defenders from the left before smashing past Nzokora for the opener.
Gor’s push for the second paid in the 28th when Agwanda started the move from midfield to find winger Ronald Omino who in turn did well to square for Olunga to easily tap home.
A minute later, Olunga who is leading the top scorers chart set up Odhiambo who uncorked a stinging shot but Nzokora punched away to deny the striker his brace.
At the other end, Abubakar Djama threw away a chance to pull one back from the counter attack after blazing over with only Onyango to beat.
Nuttall rested Olunga for Meddie Kagere at the restart and his first touch nearly led to the third when he picked up Wafula who hurriedly shot over from close range.
Telecom remained composed with their format of playing behind the ball but despite managing to get into Gor’s box, Djama Abubakar could not beat Onyango who came off his line to deny him.
Hussein Said squandered a chance that could have brought them back in the game, when he rounded Onyango but his finish was poor allowing Erick Ochieng to clear the danger.
Said, made the amends a minute later, this time getting it right from a header to pull one back but even before they finished celebrating, Agwanda killed the contest after finishing his own rebound that hit the post.
With ten minutes to the final whistle, Nuttall introduced Niizigiyimana for Collins Okoth as Gor held on for the win.