MACHAKOS, Kenya, Feb 10 – Kevin ‘Ade’ Omondi scored his first goal since returning to Gor Mahia as the record 16-time Kenyan Premier League champions beat Leones Vegetarianos of Equatorial Guinea 2-0 in the first leg of CAF Champions League hosted at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday.
Ade found the opener in the 19th minute to see the hosts lead 1-0 at the break before super sub Ephraim Giukan netted the second in the 60th minute with his first touch after coming on for George ‘Black Berry’ Odhiambo.
Gor missed a penalty in the 27th minute after midfielder Humphrey Mieno squandered the chance.
Omondi repaid the faith shown in him by head coach Dylan Kerr, scoring the opener in his first start since returning to the club while new signing Guikan showed what is expected of him with a thunderbolt barely 30 seconds after coming on.
In the least, any kind of draw for K’Ogalo in the return leg in Equatorial Guinea will sail them through to the first round of the continental competition.
Gor would have been 2-0 up by half time, but Mieno saw a 27th minute penalty saved by Vegetarianos keeper Manuel Pasunga who turned the ball behind for a corner diving low to his left.
It wasn’t a vintage Gor Mahia first half performance as the reigning Kenyan champions put out to a slow start, though they were commanding in possession. Gor were not as fast as they have been known to be in transition.
Their first chance of the game came through in the fifth minute when Meddie Kagere’s shot on the half turn from a Geoffrey Walusimbi low cross from the left went straight to the keeper.
Four minutes later, Omondi had his first effort at goal, lifting a shot from the edge of the box too high.
The hosts came closest in the 15th minute when Vegetarianos skipper Asterio Ondeyi cleared the ball off the line with Shakava advancing in for a header after Wellington Ochieng had flicked on Francis Kahata’s freekick at the near post.
But four minutes later and Gor were away in celebration when Omondi slapped the ball home from inside the box.
Kagere floated in the ball from the left finding Kahata at the far post, the midfielder nodding the ball down for Omondi to fire home low beating the helpless Pasunga.
It should have been 2-0 in the 27th minute when Mieno stepped up after Omondi was brought down inside the box, but he couldn’t do enough from 12 yards out to score his first competitive goal for K’Ogalo.
The visitors struggled to create any meaningful chances with Boniface Oluoch reduced to wasting proceedings from the comfort of his 18-yard area.
Pedro Mitogo Ondo and Jesus Tomas Nsogo on either wing were attempting to open up the Gor Mahia defense with some runs, but their efforts came to nothing as Walusimbi and Ochieng manning either fullback were astute.
Ten minutes to half time, Omondi had another go at goal, this time his effort on the half volley going wide after a little flick got him off his defender.
Six minutes into the second half, Joash Onyango had a chance to make it 2-0 but his header unmarked inside the box from an Odhiambo freekick went over.
In the 55th minute, Gor came even closer when Kahata tapped a cut back cross from Kagere but the keeper saved. He attempted to go back for the rebound but the shot stopper was quicker off his feet to pick the spills.
But Gor were away 2-0 on the hour mark and in superb fashion.
The board was lifted up by the fourth official, Odhiambo coming out after an unusual afternoon off and in came Guikan. The Ivorian’s first order of business was to pick up a throw-in from Wellington Ochieng and with two touches to free himself off his markers fired a left foot bullet into the net.
It was Gor’s game to lose now as they became more comfortable and goalscorer Omondi was later withdrawn for Samuel Onyango.
Guikan almost doubled his tally with another ferocious shot after picking up a long ball at the edge of the box but the Vegeteranios keeper tipped it over for a corner.
Gor continued to dominate but could not add on to their tally with Kagere coming close off a glancing header from Francis Kahata’s cross.