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Gor crowned champions despite Vihiga draw

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Vihiga United striker Amos Kigadi controls the ball under pressure from Gor Mahia’s Charles Momanyi and Ernest Wendo during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on May 22, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

MACHAKOS, Kenya, May 22 – Gor Mahia were crowned the Kenyan Premier League champions for a record 18th time on Wednesday evening despite being held to a 1-1 draw by relegation fighting Vihiga United at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

With Bandari being held to a 0-0 draw by Mathare United in the earlier kick off at the Kasarani Stadium, Gor had already been crowned champions by half time in their tie in Machakos.

Charles Momanyi had given Gor a first half lead before Amos Kigadi headed Vihiga level in the second half, with the results leaving Gor eight points clear at the top with two rounds of matches left, and mathematically impossible for anyone to catch up with them.

Gor head coach Hassan Oktay fielded the same strong side that won 3-1 in the Mashemeji Derby last Sunday, the only exception being defender Joash Onyango who was rested with Momanyi starting.

Gor Mahia’s Geoffrey Ochieng in action against Vihiga United during their Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on May 22, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

And Momanyi thanked his coach for the starting role in style, heading home after 14 minutes when he rose highest inside the box to nod home a Samuel Onyango freekick.

It was the first effort on target in a cagy encounter with relegation threatened Vihiga doing most of the running while Gor sat back and possessed the ball trying to get the opportune moment to attack.

Gor had to wait until the 35th minute to create any other meaningful effort at goal. Kenneth Muguna picked the ball inside the box, twisted and turned and set up Nicholas Kipkurui but his shot was wild and wide.

A minute on the turn, Vihiga had a dangerous chance at goal when Kigadi rose highest to meet an Alex Imbusia cross from the right, but the header met an equally good save from Peter Odhiambo.

Three minutes to the break, Gor had another chance when Philemon Otieno floated in a beautiful cross from the right landing on Samuel Onyango’s head, but his effort was well saved by the keeper.

Gor Mahia’s Kenneth Muguna in action against Vihiga United during their Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on May 22, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In the second half, Vihiga stepped up and created chances. Five minutes after the restart, Kigadi came in to the end of a Victor Ademba freekick, but his effort went just inches over.

On the other end, Onyango had a chance when put through by Jack Tuyisenge but he couldn’t find the target. Three minutes later, they were punished for the missed chance.

Kigadi rose in at the back post to power a header from a Hedmond Mauda freekick into the bottom right of keeper Odhiambo’s goal.

Knowing that the league was well secured, Gor were in no pressure and only forced the Vihiga keeper to one more save, the custodian going down low to save Kipkurui’s shot from inside the box with quarter of an hour left.

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