MACHAKOS, Kenya, Mar 14 – Gor Mahia came from a goal down to score two within two minutes and beat Kakamega Homeboyz 2-1 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Thursday to move second in the Kenyan Premier League standings.
Luke Namanda had given Homeboyz a 50th minute lead before substitute Francis Mustafa and Boniface Omondi scored in quick succession to hand the league holders a vital win and keep their title retention hopes alive.
With the players on a go slow due to unpaid allowances and February salaries, Gor had only 15 men travel to Machakos, the 11 starting and four on the bench with youngster Eric Ombija landing the rare chance of being in the squad among the subs.
Among the regulars, Harun Shakava, Nicholas Kipkurui, Ernest Wendo, George Odhiambo and Lawrence Juma were started. Loudly absent were Francis Kahata, Jacques Tuyisenge, Samuel Onyango and Dennis Oliech, though they might be rested for Sunday’s crucial CAF Confederations Cup match.
Gor had not trained since their return from their CAF Confederations Cup assignment against Zamalek in Egypt and Thursday afternoon was their first day together on the pitch since the Sunday tie.
It was a slow encounter with few chances. Homeboyz had the first go at goal after 11 minutes when Ali Bhai’s low corner was missed by everyone in the box landing on Sosthenes Idah’s feet but the centre back skied the shot.
In the 26th minute, Gor had their first real foray at goal when off a counter attack, Nicholas Kiokurui put Erisa Ssekisambu through with a delightful through pass but the Ugandan hit the effort high from the right.
In the 32nd minute, some fancy footwork from Festo Omukoto saw him skip away from Wendo, but his eventual shot at goal was weak, Peter Odhiambo gathering easily.
In quick succession in the 34th and 37th minutes, Gor had their first shots on target. First, Wendo cited some space ahead of him and went for a shot, but it was an easy catch for David Juma in the Gor goal.
Three minutes later, Boniface Omondi’s corner went straight into the upright and he recycled the ball, sought space and shot at goal with David Juma punching the effort away for another corner.
The game picked up in the second half with Gor showing intent early, Juma’s shot from distance being smothered away by keeper Juma.
Homeboyz broke the deadlock five minutes into the half when Bhai put Namanda through with a defense splitting pass, the winger dinking the ball over keeper Fredrick Odhiambo.
But Gor, match fitness notwithstanding kept the pressure and left back Geoffrey Ochieng showed intent in the 61st minute with a rifling shot from distance punched away for a corner by Juma.
The goals finally came, and in quick succession.
Mustafa volleyed Gor level in the 67th minute from inside the box after Homeboyz struggled to clear the ball off an Ochieng long throw. Two minutes later, the home side was 2-1 up in almost similar fashion.
A long throw wasn’t cleared away and the ball fell back on Ochieng who crossed in and cleared away straight to Omondi’s legs. The winger took a delightful first touch before taking a shot at goal, the ball being deflected on its way in.