NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – Gor Mahia displayed an eye-catching football but the Esperance shot-stopper Noel Ben Sherifia stood tall to deny them in a 0-0 draw first leg of the CAF Champions League First Round. Here is how it went down in pictorial at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday.
Gor Mahia captain, Harun Shakava has rallied his team-mates to put in hard yards of training even as they eye place in the history books by being the first Kenyan team to progress to the group stages since Tusker in 1994.
The record 16-time Kenyan Premier League champions, beaten 3-2 at home by the same opponents four years ago had an opportunity to finish the first leg with a handsome score-line, but their scoring let them down on an afternoon they should have had more than three goals.
Esperance goalkeeper Sherifia had twice produced brilliant saves to ensure his side remained in the game, while also playing his fair share of time wasting antics, slowing down the pace of the game.
Without a natural right-back as both Wellington Ochieng and Karim Nizigiyimana are out injured, Gor head coach Dylan Kerr took the gamble of pulling wide a central defender, putting Joachim Oluoch in the position.
It was Esperance who were the first to produce a goal scoring chance, Youssef Blaili finding some shooting space from 30 yards out but the ball rolled wide.
Gaining confidence that they could actually open up the Tunisians, Gor played more attacking football and in the 27th minute had another chance when Kagere was sent through on the left by Odhiambo, powered into the box but his eventual shot went wide.
Esperance resulted to time wasting and the center referee Egyptian Gehad Zaghloul did not spare them.
Victory away in Tunis or any kind of a draw with scoreline will see Gor sail through to the prestigious group stages for the first time many years.