MACHAKOS, Kenya, Apr 8- Jacques Tuyisenge’s 78th minute penalty earned Gor Mahia a priceless 1-0 win over SuperSport United in the first leg of a CAF Confederation Cup play-off round in Machakos on Sunday evening.
The slim advantage now sees Gor Mahia inch closer to earning a CAF Confederations Cup group phase berth if only they can avoid defeat in the return leg to be played in South Africa in 10 days time.
Cool as ice, Tuyisenge buried home the penalty after Meddie Kagere’s header off a Boniface Omondi corner landed on a Supersport United defender’s arms and though there were protests led by led by skipper Dean Furman, Tuyisenge went on to slot home.
With nerves cracking him down, head coach Dylan Kerr could not stand watching the penalty and moved as way back as close to the stands as his side took the lead.
Gor Mahia had chances in the opening half, but none of them landed on target.
George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo had the first opportunity in the fifth minute when he took on a run on the left, playing a quick one-two change of passes with Jacques Tuyisenge but his final effort at goal was deflected for a corner.
Five minutes later, Meddie Kagere’s shot on his weaker left foot went inches wide after drifting inside the box from the right.
SuperSport had their first opportunity in the 14th minute when Mogan Gould beat Boniface Oluoch to the ball from Luke Gareth’s cross from the right, but his header went over.
Gor kept on knocking on the SuperSport door trying to plant balls behind the defense, but this did not work out to their expectation.
In the 19th minute, Kahata’s searching ball from the right landed on Odhiambo at the backpost but he could not land an effort on target.
SuperSport were sitting back to suck in the pressure and bolting off on the first breaks. One such break almost caught Gor off their guard when Thuso Phala played Gould through, but the latter’s shot went whistling at the face of goal.
The visitors were forced into a change after 34 minutes, burly centre-back Azubuke Emmanuel having to come off clutching his hamstring and was replaced by Gamolemo Kekana.
Gor’s last straw of chances in the opening half came five minutes before the whistle, Kahata seeing his well curled freekick going inches over the bar with the keeper beaten.
Five minutes into the second half, SuperSport almost snapped the lead when Jaimie Graig’s cross from the right found Sipho Mbule unmarked at the far post, but the winger could not get a header on target, his contact going wide.
Gor came close in the 55th minute when Odhiambo’s snap shot forced the keeper into a good save. Odhiambo had picked the ball inside the box after the SuperSport defense failed to convincingly clear a Francis Kahata free kick.
Kahata had a go at goal himself in the 65th minute with another well taken shot this time on the half volley, but the keeper had it gathered and he managed to bounce back and pick the rebound ahead of a chasing Kagere.
Gor kept on persisting and they finally earned for their labor via Tuyisenge’s penalty.