NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – Captain Dennis Oliech opened his Gor Mahia account as the record Kenyan Premier League champions bounced back to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Posta Rangers at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Wednesday evening.
Oliech was handed his first start for Gor having come on as a sub over the weekend and was also named the match day captain.
The Menace, as he is fondly referred, did his bit leading from the front literally and he scored what would be the winning goal in added time of the first half to push the champions to 10 points after six rounds of matches.
Gor Mahia Made changes from the squad that drew 1-1 against Mathare United last Sunday, three of them being across the backline. Philemon Otieno was not in the match day squad all together while Joash Onyango and Harun Shakava warmed up alone.
They were replaced by Wellington Ochieng, Charles Momanyi and Pascal Ogweno who however could not last the opening half as he was substituted in the 43rd minute after a series of blunders.
With Oliech earning a starting role ahead of Jacques Tuyisenge and skippering the side, Francis Mustafa also started up in attack with George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo also earning a slot in the starting team after returning from injury.
-Oliech lead line
K’Ogalo started on the front foot and came close in the sixth minute when Francis Kahata’s curling effort from the left rolled over the crossbar.
On the other end, Brian Osumba had a brilliant shot from range which went inches over the bar, keeper Fred Odhiambo clearly caught off his guard.
Gor continued dominating and in the 12th minute, Kahata rolled in an inviting cross from the left but Odhiambo who was approaching the six yard box could not give it the slightest touch it deserved as he was muscled off the ball by Jockins Atudo.
Seven minutes later, Wellington Ochieng’s cross from the right found Mustafa at the edge of the box with the Burundian controlling beautiduly on his chest but the eventual effort on the volley went over the bar.
Mustafa had another chance five minutes later when he adjusted his neck superbly to connect to a Kahata cross 10 yards off goal, but the effort angled at the top left corner was just off target.
-Momanyi breaks deadlock
But three minutes later, Gor were wheeling away in celebration. Shafik Batambuze’s corner from the right was not dealt with well and Momanyi who was at the goalmouth scrambled it in.
Posta keeper Levis Opiyo was injured in the process after being knocked on the head as he went for the corner. After six minutes of stoppage he tried to get on with business but went down again few minutes later, and consequently substituted for Eliud Emase.
Immediately after the change, Posta went back level, thanks to a gift of erroneous defending by Ogweno.
The former Kariobangi Sharks man’s clearance was poor and blocked, and Brian Osumba race to it on the right.
The former Tusker man floated a low cross into the box finding Francis Nambute who tapped in beautifully with a backheel.
And immediately he erred, head coach Oktay frantically called down Joachim Oluoch to change and replace him immediately.
Ogweno walked out from the extreme end of the pitch and didn’t even join the rest of his mates in the dressing room at half time.
But, Gor kept the chase with nine minutes added on to the half.
And it was only fitting that it was Oliech who would take them back up. The former Harambee Stars captain controlled the ball brilliantly inside the box from an Ochieng cross before shooting past Emase with his weaker left foot for his first goal for K’Ogalo.
In the second half, Posta boss John Kamau went in for changes, Joseph Nyaga coming off for Ken Mutembei as he tried to add a bit of physicality in attack.
But still, it was Gor who continued dominating the chances. Quarter of an hour into the half, Oliech came close to his second of the evening, but he arrived jus a fraction too late to meet up a weighty cross from Mustafa.
Ten minutes later, the striker who was clearly rolling down the years tried his luck with a shot from range but it went wide as he looked to catch keeper Emase off his guard.
On the other end, Posta too tried to pull in the chances and had Danson Kago force Peter Odhiambo into a good save at his near post off a shot from the right with Momanyi arriving in time to clear the rebound.
Despite added pressure late in the game, Posta could not find a way past the watertight K’Ogalo defense.