NAIROBI, Kenya, June 19- Defending champions Gor Mahia are in line for their third KPL Top 8 title after beating Tusker FC 1-0 in the return leg to book a slot in the final that will be hosted in Mombasa.
Francis Kahata scored the lone goal of the match with an absolute beauty at the stroke of half time to see K’Ogalo advance on a 3-0 aggregate after winning 2-0 in the first leg.
Tusker had hoped to overturn the deficit but the efforts fell straight on their backs as Gor maintained their tactical discipline to ensure they stay on course for their first trophy of the season.
The Brewers’ head coach Paul Nkata made changes to the squad that played in the first leg, handing starts to two of his new players, Ugandans Hashim Sempala and Robert Omunuk.
Sempala partnered Cersidy Lumumba in midfield with Humphrey Mieno and Osborne Monday benched while Omunuk started in place of Noah Wafula.
First choice keeper David Okello also made it into the starting team with Martin Musalia benched after letting in two last weekend.
On his side, Jose Marcelo Ferreira made only one change with Khalid Aucho slotting into the starting team to replace Amos Nondi while Kahata who played in the number 10 position last weekend moved wide.
The KPL champions had the first opportunity at goal through Jacques Tuyisenge’s ferocious freekick from almost 40 yards that was tipped over for a fruitless corner.
Gor’s defense which has not conceded in the last six matches, was in no mood to break the record and they kept their shape intact at the back.
Tusker’s first opportunity at goal was in the 23rd minute with Stephen Owusu’s header sailing away from the target from an Omunuk corner.
Six minutes later, Jerim Onyango was forced into a double save to deny Tusker, first springing up well to palm off an Omunuk shot from his weaker right foot while he was at the right place again to pick up Owusu’s effort from the rebound.
Tusker were almost caught out immediately from the counter but Okello managed to beautifully tip over Aucho’s header from a Karim Nizigiyimana cross though the second assistant referee had already put his flag up for offside.
Gor were dominant in midfield with Aucho and Ernest Wendo enjoying a field day as the new Sempala-Lumumba partnership did nothing to keep them at bay.
Sempela didn’t have the perfect debut he had wished for, giving away possession and fouls in dangerous positions.
In the second minute of added time, Sempala fouled Tuyisenge at the edge of the box, Kahata picking up the ball to swing in a belter leaving Okello rooted to his spot for the opener.
Coming back for the second period, they were more determined moving forward and two minutes after the restart, Shafik Batambuze had an effort from a freekick but Jerim had an easy collection.
Tusker made changes with Lumumba and Louis Misiko making way for Mieno and winger Noah Wafula respectively.
The game went into an equal contest with Mieno doing well to neutralize the imbalance in midfield while Wafula’s pace couldn’t have come at a better time when Nkata’s side needed goals.
Wafula came close in the 65th minute but his shot from the right rolled across the face of goal begging for the slightest of touches to re-route it into the back of the net.
The defending champions were unable to add more goals to their tally with Tusker being more disciplined in defense.
Gor will now play Muhoroni Youth in the final, who had earlier progressed on the away goal rule, after holding Ulinzi Stars to a 1-1 draw.