NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia will take on Espérance de Tunis in the first round of the CAF Champions League after eliminating Equatorial Guinea side Leones Vegetarianos 3-1 on aggregate in the preliminary stage.
This is after K’Ogalo rallied a goal down to hold Vegetarianos 1-1 in the return leg played away in Malabo on Wednesday. The first leg staged in Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium 10 days ago, ended 2-0 in favour of the Kenyan champions.
Gor now has a mountain task in handling Espérance who have been a hard nut to crack with the last time the two sides met seeing the North Africans thrashing the record 16 time KPL champions 8-2 on aggregate.
Esperance had earlier dumped out ASAC Concorde of Mauritius with an emphatic 6-1 aggregate win.
K’Ogalo will host the first leg between March 6-7 before travelling to Tunis for the return leg a week later.
The winner between Gor and Esperance will grace the lucrative group stages – with the draw set for March 21.
-Gor too sweet for Vegetarios-
Gor coach Dylan Kerr made eight changes from the team that beat Zoo Kericho 4-2 in a Kenyan Premier League match on Thursday last week with Boniface Oluoch returning to man the post as captain Harun Shakava partnered Joash Onyango in central defence.
Wesley Onguso, Meddie Kagere and Shakava were the only faces that featured against Zoo while Ernest Wendo and Humphrey Mieno resumed their midfield roles.
Godfrey Walusimbi started on the flanks alongside Francis Kahata with Kevin ‘Ade’ Omondi – who scored in the 2-0 first leg win in Machakos – playing behind lead striker Kagere.
After a cagey start, Gor settled in the match towards the end of the first half which ended goalless.
Leones took the lead in the 55th minute and pushed for another goal which would have taken the match to penalties.
But Gor levelled after Francis Kahata’s corner was redirected into the net by a Vegetarianos player, making matters harder for the hosts as they now required to score three unanswered goal to progress.