NAIROBI, Kenya, June 12- Defending champions Gor Mahia edged closer to their third Kenyan Premier League Top 8 title after seeing off Tusker FC 2-0 in the first leg of the semi-final played at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
Goals in the first half from Rwandese Jacques Tuyisenge and Enock Agwanda eased Gor to the important win heading into next weekend’s return leg.
Gor head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira handed promoted Gor Youth skipper Amos Nondi his first start of the season deploying him on the right side of midfield while Ernest Wendo marshaled the middle alongside Francis Kahata in the absence of Khalid Aucho and Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth.
Coming off a run of five unbeaten matches and having not conceded, Gor were not just about to let their feet off the gas pedals.
Tuyisenge opened the scores in the 13th minute after controlling the ball with his thigh and using his sheer strength to wade off the pressure from Eugene Asike before shooting past Tusker keeper Martin Musalia.
Gor had asserted their authority early and the goal was an imprint of their intent from the start.
Tusker had a chance in the 18th minute with Osborne Monday’s shot from the edge of the box deflected for a corner which Collins Shivachi headed inches wide from Shafik Batambuze’s delivery.
That would only be a scare for K’Ogalo and they kept their attacking mantra and Tuyisenge should have doubled his tally with a shot from the right, when he rolled across the face of goal in the 20th minute.
The defending champions doubled their lead in the 23rd minute with Enock Agwanda rising high to head in a corner from Francis Kahata.
Two minutes to half time, Wafula missed a glorious opportunity shooting wide from a good scoring range after being put through by Tuyisenge who had intercepted possession off Tusker.
Tusker head coach Paul Nkata sought a new formula to tackle the remaining 45 minutes, choosing to pull out winger Noah Wafula for the more skillful Danson Kago.
But still, Tusker continued playing second fiddle to Gor and the latter should have been two up 10 minutes into the half but Agwanda shot wide after being set up by Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma who took on a powerful run on the left before cutting back.
On the other end, Monday came close for Tusker with a freekick that flew over the wall and went a yard off target despite Jerim Onyango well beaten.
Humphrey Mieno, who is linked with a move to the record 15-time league champions, was Tusker’s best player on the pitch as he drove the team from midfield but the results were minimal.
New signing Baron Oketch was given his debut with 20 minutes left coming on for Agwanda and he gave a good account of himself with good runs on the wing.
In the 74th minute he came close with a shot that flew wide after beating Shivachi on the right.
With 10 minutes to stoppage time, Tusker threw everything in attack, bringing on striker Stephen Owusu for Antony Ndolo but K’Ogalo kept their composure to ensure a comfortable score line heading into the return leg.