NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – Jacques Tuyisenge scored the winner three minutes to time as Gor Mahia earned a slim 2-1 advantage over Cameroon’s New Star de Douala in the first leg of the CAF Confederations Cup play-off round at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday evening.
Gor however conceded a sticky away goal that would bring nerves heading into next weekend’s return leg in Douala, but the record Kenyan champions can assure passage into a second consecutive group stage appearance if they avoid defeat in West Africa.
Benjamin Bechem scored the equalizer for the visitors in the 72nd minute after Lawrence Juma had taken the record Kenyan champions ahead in the first half.
Gor started on the front foot and came close after six minutes when Francis Kahata’s well delivered cross from the right found Boniface Omondi inside the box but the pint-sized midfielder could not guide the ball home.
Three minutes later, Gor came ever so close when Omondi turned provider to pick out Francis Mustafa inside the box but the Burundian’s connection came off the upright.
Omondi, who was a constant menace for the New Stars backline had another chance on the half hour mark when he was sent through by Kahata again, but he could not execute a shot on target.
The visitors’ first chance came through after 32 minutes with Gildas Njoh trying his luck from distance, but Boniface Oluoch who was returning to the first 11 after missing the last two games collected with ease.
Four minutes later, the Cameroonians had a chance off a freekick when Ayamo Soglongbe was brought down by Philemon Otieno at the edge of the area but Nelson Moukeu curved the resultant free kick wide.
For all their early dominance, Gor had to wait until the 41st minute to break the deadlock.
Juma picked up Shafik Batambuze’s deep pass from the left flank in his stride before lifting it over his marker and curling it beautifully into an empty net after the new Star keeper had left his line.
Gor continued their dominance in the second half and had more chances when Mustafa missed another glorious opportunity on 71 minutes when he was found by Omondi inside the box but couldn’t take his shot in time allowing the defense to bungle him over the ball.
For the missed chances, Gor were punished a minute later when substitute Bechem, who had replaced Roland Lane equalized with a bullet header off a Bernard Ngangue corner.
After conceding, Gor boss Oktay switched into full attack mode, throwing into the mix Samuel Onyango and Erisa Ssekisambu for Omondi and Mustafa respectively.
Gor piled the pressure and ultimately, Tuyisenge came to the rescue three minutes from time with a thumping header off another of Batambuze’s assists to ensure the Kenyan champions go into the return leg with a slight advantage.