NAIROBI, Kenya, July 22 – Giant Gor Mahia continued its superb form as the unbeaten Kenyan Premier League champions extended their dominance over bitter rivals AFC Leopards with a 2-1 victory in the 85th Mashemeji Derby hosted at the Kasarani Stadium’s fine surface on Sunday.
A school boy blunder from AFC Leopards defender Salim ‘Shitu’ Abdala gifted Gor Mahia the lead on the 21st minute when his poor back-pass was intercepted by speedy Jacques Tuyisenge who easily slammed the ball past keeper Ezekiel Owade.
However, K’Ogalo could not keep a clean sheet heading to the interval as laps of concentration at the back saw Wyvonne Isuza equalize for Ingwe on the stroke of half time with a marvelous scissor kick to bring the Leopards back in the game and arouse their fans who were silenced by the Tuyisenge opener.
Gor returned stronger, taking six minutes into the second half to reclaim the lead through George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo’s volley after connecting a Francis Kahata pin-point cross from the left wing.
The win granted unstoppable Gor a 12-point lead at the summit of the Kenyan Premier League table despite having played three matches less compared to second placed Sofapaka.
Gor head coach Dylan Kerr was over the moon after the match, describing his players as warriors
“It was a great derby game but it’s a shame AFC don’t play like that every week when I watch them, today they had some new players so I couldn’t do my homework on them as I prepared for the match,” a happy Kerr noted.
“I just said to my players go out there and if you concede a goal don’t put your heads down because we will get another goal and it was a great strike by George (Blackberry). All credit goes to all these players they are worriers, they were brilliant,” the Briton coach added.
His corresponding counterpart Rodolfo Zapata was content with the result even as his fete at the club hangs in the balance.
“My boys did a great job, like always we fight but unfortunately some details made the difference and that’s the first goal. We created so many opportunities but did not convert but all in all I am proud of my players,” Zapata lamented.
AFC Leopards, who are chasing their first KPL title in 20 years, dropped to fifth in the standing with 36 points as the Kenyan Premier League takes a break to pave way for the FKF Shield where Gor face Posta Rangers on Wednesday at the same Kasarani Stadium.