NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – Gor Mahia clinched a record 17th Kenyan Premier League title on Saturday afternoon after beating their arch rivals AFC Leopards 2-0 in a trouble ridden Mashemeji Derby at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
K’Ogalo defended the title with six matches to spare.
With focus fixed on their CAF Confederations Cup tie against USM Alger in Algeria on Wednesday, Gor head coach Dylan Kerr fielded a second string team, the same that thrashed Sofapaka 3-0 in midweek and they did not disappoint.
In an eventful match, the game had to be stopped for nine minutes after a section of AFC Leopards supporters started throwing projectiles into the pitch following Gor’s second goal.
After resumption, Ingwe had a chance to draw back level from the penalty spot, but Whyvonne Isuza struck his effort wide.
Gor had gone ahead with super fine goals from Boniface Omondi and Bernard Ondiek.
Up until Omondi’s 31st minute goal, the game had broken off into a procession, none of the two sides injecting pace into the game. Incidentally, it was goal scorer Omondi who seemed the liveliest of the 22 players on the pitch as he attempted to get into speed whenever he got the ball.
The pint sized winger provided the first chance of the game in the third minute when he lifted the ball into Samuel Onyango’s path, but the striker took a heavy first touch allowing keeper Ezekiel Owade to come out and pick the ball.
Two minutes on the turn, Joachim Oluoch was almost punished when a missed pass straight into the middle of the pack was intercepted by Alex Orotomal who sent Brian Marita through, but the winger’s shot was awry.
Gor had a good chance to break the deadlock on the quarter hour mark when Cersidy Okeyo’s freekick landed on Bernard Ondiek at the back post but his header was weak, straight into Owade’s arms.
AFC should have been one up after 27 minutes but the gods of luck never smiled their way after Gor defender Wesley Onguso almost turned the ball into his own net as he looked to clear away a flicked ball from Marita.
Four minutes later, Gor broke the deadlock, the game’s liveliest player hitting the back of the net with a low shot from the edge of the box after drifting into space when the ball was played out to him from the left.
AFC were stunned while the green half of the divide danced in joy.
The level of happiness should have gone same in the 37th minute, but AFC missed a great chance with Isaac Oduro’s freekick from a good scoring position went straight into the wall.
Two minutes later, they were punished.
Gor won the ball in midfield and Karim Nizigiyimana spread it wide on the other end to Omondi who cut into the box and sliced a pass back to Ondiek who took the simplest of finishes beating Owade one on one.
After the second goal, hell broke loose with a section of Ingwe supporters breaking seats and throwing into the pitch, protesting that in the build up to the goal there was a foul on their player.
After nine minutes, the game resumed though and AFC should have surely clawed back some hope of a comeback. They were given a penalty after Charles Momanyi handled inside the box as he defended a cross, but Whyvonne Isuza blasted the kick wide.
In the second half, AFC came brighter with head coach Rodolfo Zapata making a double switch bringing on Vincent Oburu and Eugene Mukangula for the ineffective Baker Lukooya and Edward Seda.
AFC were more incisive going forward, but they could not crack the backline of Momanyi and Joachim Oluoch which had stood firm, Oluoch particularly putting in a huge shift.
Four minutes from the restart, Mukangula swung in a sweet looking cross after skipping away from Wesley Onguso on the left, but Isuza’s effort on the volley went over unmarked inside the box.
AFC’s Nigerian striker Orotomal was causing all the danger and had two chances, one with a shot from the left which was well handled by the keeper while minutes later, his effort from the edge of the area was blocked.
In the 71st minute, Orotomal was presented with another glorious opportunity when Oduro’s cross from the left picked him out, but his shot went straight to keeper Fredrick Odhiambo.
Gor turned the game into a training session, passing the ball around much to the cheer of the fans who enjoyed every touch of the ball.
With champagne chilling in ice, the Gor bench and the fans stood on their feet over the entire final five minutes of the game and once the referee’s final whistle sounded, the party flowed over from the stands into the pitch.