NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – Ugandan import Erisa Ssekisambu scored thrice with Dennis Oliech adding in between as Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia beat struggling Mount Kenya United 4-1 at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Wednesday.
Mount Kenya had to finish the match with 10 men after Frank Balabala was sent off for two quick yellow cards for dissent while protesting the penalty awarded to Gor.
Ssekisambu opened the scoring early in the first half before Oliech doubled the tally from the spot in the second half. Moses Odhiambo halved the deficit for Mount Kenya before Ssekisambu restored the two-goal cushion with a neat finish.
Odhiambo could have had his brace but struck his penalty against the crossbar in the 88th minute after Wellington Ochieng handled inside the box.
The Ugandan sealed the three points with a late goal in added time, sliding into an assist from Oliech.
Gor head coach Hassan OKtay made changes to his team, the central defensive pairing of Harun Shakava and Joash Onyango getting back into the starting team while Joachim Oluoch and Charles Momanyi were rested with the tactician having one eye on the weekend CAF Confederations Cup assignment.
Wellington Ochieng was also started at right back while Ephraim Guikan paired Erisa Ssekisambu led the attack.
However, Guikan was substituted four minutes to half time, Oktay clearly not impressed with his performance and he brought into the fray Dennis ‘The Menace’ Oliech.
Guikan ran straight to the dressing room, clearly unimpressed with the decision to haul him off early.
Mount Kenya thought they had the lead inside the first minute when Paul Odhiambo dived in to head a Boniface Mukhekhe cross from the right, but the second assistant referee had his flag up for offside.
Two minutes later, Gor responded with the opening goal, Ssekisambu having the easiest of tasks to tap into an empty net a low cross from George Odhiambo after some neat interplay on the left.
Despite going down, Mount Kenya who are shadowed in financial problems and their poor quality jerseys with plastered jersey numbers telling it all, tried to get their feet back into the game.
They moved the ball around the park well, but couldn’t get their act right in the final third.
It was Gor who had the best of chances to get the goals.
In the 29th minute, Odhiambo put Guikan through with a low pass but the Ivorian blast the effort wide with the ball well placed on his favorite left foot.
Four minutes later, keeper Peter Odhambo launched a quick counter throwing the ball to Odhiambo on the left, but the winger chose to try and pick out the Mount Kenya keeper off his line with Guikan screaming for the ball ahead of him.
In the 36th minute, Gor had another chance when a well delivered cross from Shafik Batambuze found Francis Mustafa at the edge of the six yard box but the Burundian could not direct his header on target.
Four minutes to the break, Nakumatt had a good chance to go level when Mukhekhe was picked out with a clean pass from the left, but he blasted his shot over.
Gor doubled their tally 13 minutes into the second half when Oliech scored his second of the season from the penalty spot after Francis Mustafa was hacked inside the box by Francis Thairu.
Mount Kenya players hugely contested the decision and the confrontations ensured even after the penalty was taken resulting into Balabala’s second yellow card.
But a resilient Mount Kenya fought back and halved the deficit 10 minutes later when substitute Moses Odhiambo made the most of a poor defensive header from Onyango before volleying the ball home from inside the box.
The visitors should have made it 2-2 minutes later, but poor communication from Samuel Ndung’u and Brian Nyakan who had just come on saw them collide for the same ball with the keeper at their mercy.
Quarter of an hour left, Gor should have made it 3-1 when Oliech raced to a Ssekisambu cross from the right, but his connection went wide.
But Ssekisambu wiped his blushes in the 77th minute when he arrived inside the box in time to tap home a well weighted cross from Batambuze.
Substitute Boniface Omondi came close to number four for the reigning champions but his low shot from the right was turned behind for a corner by the Mount Kenya keeper.