NAIROBI, November 20- A George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo first-half double inspired SportPesa Premier League champions, Gor Mahia, storm the GOtv Shield semi finals in a 3-1 thumping of Administration Police (AP) at Nairobi’s City Stadium on Friday.
Odhiambo found the opener after eight minutes before adding the second in the 36th to put K’Ogalo in charge but Salim Mzee halved the deficit in the 55th to set up a nervy second half.
Gor finally disarmed the policemen in stoppage time when Ugandan born, former Rwandan international, Meddie Kagere put the gross to the top flight champions’ performance when he sealed the win after being set up by substitute forward, Michael Olunga.
AP head coach, Tom Juma, a former K’Ogalo servant, was content with the result.
“We came with a different game plan since we wanted to sit back and catch Gor on the counter but we had to open up and push forward after conceding the first goal.
“We will continue working hard and hope one day we will win the tournament,” the former Kenyan international declared after the defeat.
K’Ogalo who are chasing their fourth domestic title in a record-setting season; will face another second tier side, Nakumatt FC in the second semi with the winner booking a place in the decider against Bandari.
Head coach, Frank Nuttall rested his top scorer, Olunga for Odhiambo and the 2010 Player of the Year repaid his faith when he turned back the clock to net twice in brilliant fashion.
AP who were hoping to upset the unbeaten three-peat league winners got off the blocks first when Jesse Webale exchanged passes with Kevin Oyimo before blazing over the bar with only Gor skipper and custodian, Jerim Onyango, to beat in the fifth.
Three minutes later, Odhiambo showed what he is made of when he danced past two defenders after Ali Abondo set him up from the midfield to finish off with his favourite right foot past keeper, Newton Oduor for the opener.
He added the second six minutes past the half hour mark after controlling Harun Shakava’s long ball with his chest before turning AP’s left-back, Ezekiel Ng’ang’a, inside out and planting the ball home with an emphatic shot to double the lead.
Gor suffered a blow when when ‘Blackberry’ limped off injured to be replaced with Enock Agwanda at the start of the final half.
AP gained confidence and pulled one back when Mzee intercepted Collins Okoth’s misplaced pass to unleash a ferocious low finish past the despairing dive of Onyango who was playing instead of first choice, Boniface Oluoch in goal.
Okoth was immediately pulled out for Eric Ochieng with the latter almost marking his introduction with a bang but his half volley was parried out in the 64th.
The last chance for the law enforcers came seven minutes to stoppage time when second half substitute, their Eric Ochieng, found Webale in the area but the latter fluffed the opportunity to level after Onyango easily gathered his deflected shot.
Nuttall final substitution saw him introduce Olunga for defender Shakava as the Scotsman strengthened his attack in search for the third.
Olunga’s late introduction paid off when the Harambee Stars turned inside the area to lay the pall to the onrushing Kagere who made no mistake, finishing off with a well struck shot in the fourth minute of time added on.