THIKA, Kenya, Mar 11 – First half goals from Harun Shakava and new signing Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza and a second half third from Jacques Tuyisenge were enough to hand Gor Mahia the first win of the 2017 season season as they drowned newly promoted Kariobangi Sharks 3-1 at the Thika Sub-County Stadium on Sunday evening.
Fresh from lifting the Kenyan Premier League Super Cup, Gor were motivated and they showed the hunger of reclaiming the league title from Tusker who were on Saturday beaten 5-2 by promoted Nzoia Sugar in Nakuru.
K’Ogalo head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira had paraded a strong team, pairing new signings Mugiraneza and Kenneth Muguna behind the strikers with Ernest Wendo holding infront of the back four.
In defense, Ferreira went with a back three of Musa Mohammed, Harun Shakava and Wellington Ochieng while Godfrey Walusimbi and Karim Nizigiyimana operated as wingbacks.
William Muluya on his side had anchored his team on new signing Osborne Monday and missing three of his new strikers in Cavin Odongo, Ebrimah Sanneh and Massoud Juma, he went with Rodgers Ochieng and Duke Abuya at the top.
Gor dodged a bullet in the third minute when Boniface Oluoch pulled off a superb one handed save to deny Abuya after Ovellah Ochieng had used his pace well on the right to beat Wellington Ochieng to lay in a superb cross.
On the rebound, Rodgers Ochieng blasted the ball over.
Error prone Wycliffe Otieno almost put his side in danger when his short back pass to keeper Robert Mboya was almost intercepted by Timothy Otieno, but the keeper managed to get to the ball first scrambling it out for a throw.
Gor were commanding in their play with Muguna and Mugiraneza doing well swinging the ball around as they searched for an early goal. Nzigiyimana seemed back to his element with his dangerous forays on the right and it was from his ball that Gor opened the scoring in the 18th minute.
Nizigiyimana picked the ball from a short start to a corner from Walusimbi swinging it in for Shakava to head into the net.
It seemed like something the K’Ogalo side had been training on frequently and another routine off the training ground in the 32nd minute almost bore a second goal but Nizigiyimana’s shot at the edge of the box after Muguna had rolled in a corner for him went wide.
Gor got the second in the 39th minute when Mugiraneza tapped the ball into an empty net after Mboya had spilled a shot from Walusimbi.
At the start of the second half, Sharks head coach Muluya re-organized his side, looking to seal a leaking defense by pulling out right back Michael Bodo for Sven Yidah, the latter moving to defensive midfield while Monday moved to the right.
Sharks were more adventurous moving forward and Abuya who had been doing most of the hard work upfront had a shot from the edge of the box fly just over.
Gor’s movement upfront was greatly reduced with much of the work being done in the midfield. Muluya made more changes to his side, Mathew Odongo coming in for Rodgers Ochieng while Michael Misigo came on for Ibrahim Kitawi.
Towards the end, Oluoch was called into a double save denying Misigo’s swinging volley while he managed to bounce back up quick enough to pick up the rebound from Abuya.
Gor finished the job late on with Tuyisenge’s nifty touch at the near post evading Mboya and into the net.
But Mathew Odongo pulled one back for Sharks late on, though it was too little too late as Gor ran out victors.