NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – Enosh Ochieng’s 58th minute contested penalty saw Ulinzi Stars hold champions Gor Mahia to a 1-1 draw at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu and slow down K’Ogalo’s march to the top of the Kenyan Premier League standings.
Dennis Oliech had given Gor the lead with a sumptuous finish two minutes after the restart, but Ochieng stepped up to convert a penalty after he had been impeded by Geoffrey Ochieng.
The second consecutive draw for Gor sees them remain second in the standings with 46 points, two behind leaders Sofapaka who won 1-0 away to Sony Sugar earlier on Sunday.
However, Gor have four matches at hand due to their involvement in the CAF Confederations Cup.
In a tightly contested tie, there were chances and half chances to score, but the best fell on Ulinzi in the 25th minute when Ochieng forced Gor keeper Shabaan Odhoji into a double save.
First, the striker glanced in well to connect to a Brian Birgen cross with Odhoji flying down his left to keep out the effort before rising to collect the rebound from Ochieng again.
Four minutes on the turn, Oliech made a good run on the left before cutting back to Francis Kahata whose connection went high under pressure from Omar Mbongi.
Both sides were forced into early changes after 31 minutes, Gor’s Philemon Otieno limping off clutching his knee in what will be a concern not only for Hassan Oktay but Harambee Stars boss Sebastien Migne with the Cup of Nations beckoning.
His place was taken by Pascal Ogweno.
Ulinzi were also forced into a change with midfielder Ibrahim Shambi limping off clutching his groin and his place was taken by Bernard Ongoma.
The game blast open in the second half and just two minutes after the restart Gor were ahead when Oliech controlled Frances Kahata’s pass in the middle of a crowded area, sought space and took a low shot on his weaker left foot beating James Saruni.
But 10 minutes later, the two sides were level when Ochieng slotted home from the spot after he was clipped on the heel by Geoffrey Ochieng with the Gor side protesting the spot kick.
Gor put up the pressure to try and get a win that would have catapulted them to the top and made changes, Jack Tuyisenge coming on for George Odhiambo.
Oliech came close to his second of the evening when he glanced in a header from a Kenneth Muguna freekick but Saruni pulled off an equally good save.
In the 77th minute Oliech beautifully controlled Kahata’s pass from deep in midfield before setting up Ochieng who however shot way over the bar with the goal all in his view. Oliech also had a chance late on but his effort was saved at point blank by Saruni.