KISUMU, Kenya, Aug 8- Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia dropped vital points after being held to a goalless draw by Bandari at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Sunday.
With log leaders Tusker FC having picked a 2-0 win over Mathare United on Saturday, Gor needed to win to keep pace with the leaders, but the single point gained in Kisumu only reduces the gap to four points with nine matches left before the season ends.
“It is tough dropping points but we need to fight on and ensure we regain our confidence. The gap is not huge and I am confident we can be able to bridge it,” Gor skipper Musa Mohammed said after the match.
Head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira welcomed back winger Godfrey Walusimbi from injury while for the first time since he returned, Meddie Kagere was relegated to the bench with Jacques Tuyisenge being tasked with leading the front line.
Gor were faster off the blocks and had their first effort just two minutes into the match, Francis Kahata finding space to shoot at the edge of the box but his effort was collected easily by Wilson Obungu at the Bandai goal.
Youngster Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma had an effort with a shot from his right foot after drifting from the left, but it sailed over.
The defending champions were commanding the pace and possession in the game especially having put more numbers in midfield, but their biggest undoing was the final product with Bandari doing well to defend in numbers.
Gor resorted to attempting efforts from distance, having been difficult to penetrate the Bandari backline with Walusimbi and Tuyisenge coming close with shots from distance that went begging.
The closest they got was in the 35th minute when Tuyisenge headed wide from point blank from a well weighted Karim Nizigiyimana delivery.
On the hour mark, Bandari almost got the ball into their own net after Obungu spilled a cross from Tuyisenge, with Shariff Mohammed almost scoring an owngoal as he attempted to get off his keeper’s path.
Coach Ferreira made his first chance, adding some pace into attack with Baron Oketch coming in for Innocent Wafula while Kagare came in 10 minutes later, taking Ernest Wendo’s place.
Tuyisenge had an effort in the 72nd minute with a shot that went wide after cutting into the box from the left. Kagere also had an effort on the half volley in the 76th minute after Tuyisenge chested down the ball but it never troubled Obungu.
Former Gor striker Danny Sserunkuma, who had not had any threat into the Gor backline should have given his side the lead five minutes before the end, but he wasted a glorious opportunity with a weak shot on his left foot that went wide after breaking the offside trap.
On the opposite end, Tuyisenge had a chance after racing to a long ball, but Obungu was faster off the lines blocking the striker and ensuring his side picks a vital point.