NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 11- Jacques Tuyisenge stepped off the bench to score the lone goal as the Kenyan Premier League defending champions beat Wazito FC 1-0 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday to move within one point of leaders Mathare United.
Tuyisenge came in for Lawrence Juma in the 63rd minute as K’Ogalo picked up a third consecutive 1-0 result that sees them remain unbeaten this season after eight matches and a dream of a 17th title remaining alive.
Just like he has been doing the entire season, head coach Dylan Kerr changed a huge chunk of his squad.
From the team that played Saturday’s CAF Confederations Cup tie against SuperSport United, only two were retained for the midweek assignment.
Meddie Kagere skippered the side starting upfront alongside Ephraim Guikan while Humphrey Mieno also retained his slot in the starting team, though being played in an unfamiliar position in central defense.
The league’s new boys under the tutelage of Frank Ouna who, won the title with Gor in 2013 as assistant coach, put up their best team as they sought out a fourth win of the season.
On the balance of chances, Gor should have completed the first 45 minutes with a few goals under their arms.
In the eighth minute, Samuel Onyango broke through on the right with his pace, but he took the harder option of shooting at goal with Guikan and Kagere screaming for the ball, the effort being easily collected by Wazito keeper Philip Odhiambo.
Two minutes later, Wazito had their first effort at goal with Patient Lukige taking a first time shot on the volley but keeper Shabaan Odhoji had it well covered.
Wazito came close with another chance in the 22nd minute when Harun Nyakha put Piston Mutamba through, but his low effort was collected.
Gor continued to pound as Wazito sat back waiting to attack on the counter and the reigning champions came close once again when Kagere’s shot from his weaker left foot evaded the target by a whisker after a pretty lay up on the backheel by Guikan.
They came even closer on the half hour mark when Onyango’s inviting cross after skipping past two markers on the right found Bernard Ondiek, but his header went over.
Towards the end of the half, Kagere should have broken the deadlock but his connection at the edge of the six yard box rattled the crossbar.
It was the same affair in the second half and Onyango came close with a diving header in the 58th minute that was saved by keeper Odhiambo’s feet.
The introduction of Ibrahim Mao for Wazito changed the dynamics for them in attack and the youngster came close moments later when he was put through by Mutamba but his shot was saved by Odhoji.
Mutamba had a chance himself in the 66th minute when he was picked out unmarked inside the box by a Lukige cross but he blasted it over.
Gor finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when Tuyisenge brushed a header beyond Odhiambo after rising up to meet a Cersidy Okeyo free kick.
Ouna’s charges put up a spirited fight to get the goal back and probably hunt for a winner, but they couldn’t crack the Gor backline. In fact, it was Gor who almost grabbed a second but Philip Odhiambo pushed Guikan’s header from an Omondi cross to the bar.