Football Football

Olunga engineers Tusker’s defeat in Kisumu

Michael Olunga celebrates scoring for Gor in a previous SPL clash. His move to PSL side Bidvest Wits will only be discussed end season. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.
Michael Olunga celebrates scoring for Gor in a previous SPL clash.  PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

NAIROBI, October 25- Michael Olunga, who else, engineered a 1-0 victory on Sunday as SportPesa Premier League champions, Gor Mahia silenced Tusker FC in the clash of the titans in Kisumu City.

In what was symbolically a title procession for the 15-time champions in their spiritual lakeside city home, Gor chiselled out most of the chances and only feeble finishing and an inspired Martin Musalia in the Tusker goal kept the Brewers in the game.

That was until the 71st minute when Burundi international, Karim Nizigiyimana, sent in a peach of a cross from the right and Olunga stretched his long right foot to connect the ball ahead of defender Eugene Asike for the thumping finish and at long last, Musalia was beaten.

The winner was Olunga’s first goal against his former employers and more importantly, it left Gor with two games to finish the domestic top flight season unbeaten having now gone 28 without loss.

“Very pleased to get another win! We fixed a number of things at half time and upped the game quite significantly. Michael took his goal very well and I’m pleased for him and the team,” Gor Scottish boss, Frank Nutall, said after the game.

K’Ogalo have Western Stima on Wednesday in Kisumu to clear their game in hand before hosting Muhoroni Youth in their final fixture next Sunday where they finally get to lift the crown they sewed up last month and hopefully, round off an unblemished campaign.

His strike partner, Meddie Kagere should have added the gloss to the result three minutes to full time when he was put in by a pin-point Timothy Otieno delivery from the same right flank but his cheeky back-heeled effort was gathered by Musalia.

Victory saw Gor rise to 72 points to extend their record tally since the advent of the Kenyan Premier League era in their historic season as they completed the league double and inflicted a 10th loss on the Brewers in the top flight.

Tusker were wasteful in the first half when they matched Gor toe-to-toe with league top scorer, Jesse Were on 20 spurned two guilt edged chances as Noah Wafula wasted the other opening.

Kagere and Olunga also went close for the champions as Musalia made a blinding save from Collins Okoth in the opening exchanges to deny Gor a dream start in the second encounter between the local bigwigs inside seven days.

K’Ogalo returned from the break to take the game by the scruff of the neck as recalled winger, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo rose in prominence after a ineffectual first half.

Olunga fired a warning shot when he turned inside the Tusker box using sheer, brutal force but unloaded a tame finish with his weaker left foot that was easily gobbled up by Musalia just shy of the hour mark.

The champions then shifted through the gears and in the 67th, Odhiambo tore the left and delivered a deep cross that was sent crashing onto the inside of the post by Kagere, a relieved Musalia picking up the rebound. But five minutes later, what appeared inevitable occurred as Tusker’s net bulged.

The Brewers sign off their season against another giant that has failed to have seismic impact on the league this season, AFC Leopards in what will be a clash for the scraps.

“It’s a fair result considerimng it was a game of two halves. We dominated the first half and failed to utilise our chances and when you don’t, you get punished. Kudos to them. We need to go back and rethink what we need to do in the next match,” the Brewers’ interim head coach, Leonard Odipo said of the defeat.

Gor and Tusker have the second leg of the KPL Top 8 knock-out tournament to play with the tie well poised at 2-2 after the Brewers battled from 2-0 down to haul themselves level.

Elsewhere on Sunday, condemned Nakuru All Stars completed the league double over Sony Sugar by flogging them 2-1 at their Awendo backyard with John Ndirangu notching the brace in the 18th and 87th minutes of the match to sandwich Marwa Chamberi’s leveller in the 52nd from the spot.

Former champions, Mathare United and Sofapaka shared a keenly fought 2-2 draw in Machakos with a penalty from Noah Abich in the 23rd cancelled out in the 38th by veteran striker, John Baraza to leave both sides level at the break.

Mathare nosed ahead through another successful conversion from the spot two minutes after half time but Sofapaka who succeeded them as league winners in 2009 rallied to share the spoils through another penalty from Felly Mulumba in the 50th.

Samuel Ouma was the difference between visiting Chemelil and Thika United in a 1-0 result through yet another penalty midway through the opening period.