NAIROBI, March 6 – There will not be a repeat of unbeaten run by Gor Mahia after the defending SportPesa Premier League champions were silenced 1-0 at home to eternal rivals AFC Leopards in an entertaining Mashemeji Derby played at Safaricom Stadium on Sunday.
Substitute Lamine Diallo, who came on for Simon Abuko netted the winner ten minutes to stoppage time when he tapped past Jerim Onyango from Yusuf Juma’s cross and send Ingwe fans into jubilation.
The win saw Ingwe claim the bragging rights at least in the first-leg and move top of the standing on 10 points while K’Ogalo dropped to 12th on three points, all from draws.
Being a 79th meeting between the two biggest Kenyan clubs, both sides made changes with Gor head coach Frank Nuttall relegating regular Karim Nizigiyimana to the bench for Luke Ochieng.
His opposite number, Ivan Minnaert who was featuring in his maiden derby gambled to hand youngster Alfred Wafula his debut in favour of experienced Diallo and Allan Katerega.
Gor, who are yet to win a match this season, could have taken an early lead in the second minute when Ugandan Godfrey Walusimbi tore the left to curl home a goal bound cross, but Leopards keeper Lukas Indeche produced a man of the match performance with a top drawer save.
Leopards responded immediately with a counter-attack that was started by Miheso on the right to find Wekesa, who did well to trouble Gor’s defence, forcing Ochieng to bring the teenager down at the edge of the box but referee Anthony Ogwayo waved play on.
Gor made all the early running and Indeche was forced to save twice from wasteful Innocent Wafula.
The shot-stopper, first parried Wafula’s low drive in the 12th minute to deny George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo, who was eagerly waiting to tap home.
Wafula managed to go past two defenders a minute later, but his finishing was poor as Indeche easily picked the feeble shot.
Leopards were forced to make the first change after Wekesa limped off injured to be replaced with Katerega.
Leopards improved to gain confidence in the midfield thanks to Katerega’s pace that saw him give Ingwe the first shot on target with a long range effort to wake up Gor custodian Onyango, who warded off the cracker.
Wafula squandered his last opportunity on the stroke of half-time when Odhiambo put him through but the winger was slow to respond to allow Indeche came off his line to rescue Leopards.
Both sides resulted to a physical game in the second half but it was Gor who threatened first through Odhiambo, who pulled a ferocious strike, demanding Indeche’s save to keep Ingwe in the tensed match.
Against the run of play, Leopards utilised Gor’s slackness at the back to see Miheso provide the inviting cross that found Diallo, who ran at the defence before tapping narrowly wide on the far right corner.
The visitors opted for counter-attacking with Katerega unleashing a lethal shot that called Onyango into action, finger tipping over in the dying minutes.