NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – Nicholas Kipkirui scored a goal in either half and created the third as Gor Mahia continued their dominance over arch rivals AFC Leopards beating them 3-1 in the Mashemeji Derby at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Sunday.
AFC whose last victory over the 17-time Kenyan Premier League champions was way back in March 2016 could not find a way past the league leaders who now only need to win against Vihiga United on Wednesday to clinch an 18th league crown.
Kipkirui scored in the 23rd and 60th minute before his brilliance opened up a door for Jacquies Tuyisenge to score the third five minutes later while AFC’s consolation was scored by Vincent Oburu with six minutes to go.
The game had a temporary stoppage just after Gor scored the third with a section of AFC supporters breaking seats and throwing them into the pitch, but calm was restored just four minutes later.
Gor broke the deadlock after 23 minutes thanks to a howler from keeper Ezekiel Owade who all evening had looked shaky on his line.
The keeper went low to pick out a shot from range by Samuel Onyango but instead of collecting calmly under his waiting arms spilled it a yard infront of him and Kipkirui was quicker than all defenders and the keeper to react to the ball and he tapped it home.
Before that, the home side, AFC Leopards had done well to create scoring opportunities though none of them troubled the keeper much.
In the third minute, a beautiful pass from David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng who donned the arm band for Ingwe found a running Whyvonne Isuza, but the forward was tackled down well at the edge of the box by skipper Harun Shakava who had raced back to cover.
A minute on the turn, AFC were almost punished when Salim Abdallah fumbled with the ball as he tried to shield it from Kipkirui. The forward set himself up with the first touch and tried to curl the ball beyond the keeper but the effort was wide.
AFC had a great chance in the eight minute when Paul Were’s long cross found Brian Marita on the other wing, who in turn set the ball up at the edge of the box but a lack of communication between Isuza and Vincent Oburu saw the latter pick the ball and take an awry aim at goal.
Fredrick Odhiambo in the Gor goal was troubled for the first time when A cheeky freekick from Were curled goalwards and the keeper had to adjust quick to parry it away for a corner. Were looked as though he was going for a cross but aimed on target.
But a minute later, AFC were punished.
They had been a man down with Cheche out being attended to by the medics having appeared to be struggling with a knock on his knee.
Five minutes after conceding, AFC survived when Jack Tuyisenge ran on the blindside of Salim Abdallah to win the ball ahead of him, but instead of cutting back the ball the striker went for goal himself from a tight angle and the shot was blocked for a corner.
Were who had been well manned by Philemon Otieno on the right side of Gor’s defense switched to the left side where his main aim was to run at the defense and cut back to his favorite left foot.
He achieved that three minutes to the break when he danced away from Geoffrey Ochieng and moved to the middle, but his shot was straight at Odhiambo in the Gor goal.
A miss pass from Ochieng almost cost AFC as the ball landed on Kipkirui who sent Tuyisenge through, but Ochieng rushed back and made a timely tackle to deny the Rwandese a shot at goal.
AFC came back a bit decent in the second half and tried to pin Gor in their half in a bid to crack the solid backline and get a way back into the match.
Joash Onyango had been particularly solid dealing with everything that was thrown his way and formed a solid wall in front of Odhiambo.
The keeper was however forced to work extra 12 minutes after the restart when he leaped wide to his right to turn behind a fierce freekick from Brian Marita which had pierced the wall and was headed to the bottom right corner.
AFC were caught off on the hour mark and conceded the second goal.
Said Tsuma took too much time on the ball and was bombarded by Kenneth Muguna who powered him out of the ball before splitting the defense to send Kipkirui through, the striker on turn chipping the ball over the keeper.
Just five minutes later, Ingwe were 3-0 down.
A long ball destined for Kipkirui on the left seemed to have bounced out of play but the striker collected and prodded upfield with Salim Abdallah stopping as he waited for the assistant referee’s flag to give him a throw in.
The flag stayed down and so did referee Israel Mpaima allow play to go on. Kipkirui broke into the box, tried to chip over keeper Owade who instead palmed the ball against the bar and a chasing Tuyisenge nodded it home from a yard out.
After the short stoppage due to a bit of crowd trouble, AFC boss Cassa Mbungo threw in a change. Abdallah who had been catastrophic in defense was pulled out for Saad Mussa who went straight to midfield while Cheche dropped to his best position in defense.
With Gor relaxed having a three goal cushion, AFC went on the offensive and despite attacks from K’Ogalo, they were more solid in defense with Cheche’s leadership undoubted.
They were rewarded with six minutes left on the clock when Oburu struck to the bottom right after cutting into the box.