NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – Gor Mahia turned the tide on their arch rivals AFC Leopards in the second half as a brace from Ivorian forward Gnamin Yikpe as well as one each from Clifton Miheso and Lawrence Juma earned K’Ogalo a precious 4-1 victory in the Mashemeji Derby at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.
Tresor Ndikumana scored AFC’s consolation with a long range effort six minutes from time, but it didn’t do more than add to the statistics of the game.
In a game of two halves, AFC were punished for failing to turn their possession in the first half into goals while Gor came off the breather like wounded lions.
Yikpe who had wasted two back to back open chances within the opening five minutes of the second half was hugely booed by Gor fans who remonstrated angrily for him to be substituted, but he responded in style, hitting a brace within eight minutes to send Gor soaring.
In an opening half that they completely bossed, AFC Leopards did everything right but score.
Their one shot on target at the stroke of halftime was the closest they came to breaking the deadlock against a Gor side that looked out of sorts.
AFC fielded a strong 11 with youngsters Clyde Ssenaji and Collins Shichenje earning their slots in the starting team, SSenaji continuing his makeshift role as a sweeper while Shichenje played in defensive midfield.
The youngster was a joy to watch, winning tackles and spreading the ball with ease and utmost comfort. However, his stellar derby performance only lasted 30 minutes as he was replaced by Austin Ochieng after picking up an injury.
Ingwe who have not beaten their arch rivals since 2016 were clearly interested in wiping away that poor stat from their sheet and from how they started the game, it was clear their intent was on winning.
In the sixth minute, Isaac Kipyegon floated in a freekick with a nice curl on it from the right but Bernard Ondiek who was playing a makeshift right back role cut out the supply from Whyvonne Isuza who was arriving ready to pounce at the far post.
Leopards continued their dominance especially in midfield with Ssenaji and Tresor Ndikumana bossing the play.
They were denied by the crossbar in the 27th minute when skipper Soter Kayumba rose highest to head in a corner from Ndikumana with keeper David Mapigano well beaten.
Much of the play was in Gor’s half, but Ingwe could not get the right formula to break the deadlock. At the stroke of halftime, Makwatta offered the first shot on target for the game with a left footed effort punched away by Mapigano.
On the other end, Eugene Mukangala almost gifted Gor a goal out of the blues when he completely missed the ball off a Ssenaji pass at the edge of the box.
However, Francis Afriyie could not take maximum advantage of the gift with a pathetic shot from the edge of the box with time and space ahead of him, keeper Benjamin Ochan gathering the ball with utmost ease.
But, tables were turned in the second half.
A frantic restart saw Gor knock in the AFC goal twice in five minutes. Three minutes after the restart, Yikpe’s shot after keeper Ochan had spilled a cross from Afriyie was blocked while a minute later, he sent a timid shot to goal from an Afriyie cross.
But he responded to the boos and shouts from Gor fans in style when he sent a thumping header against Isaac Kipyegon and into the net off a Kenneth Muguna corner, after Ochan had blocked Afriyie’s effort from point blank range.
Nine minutes later, he made it 2-0 with a simple tap in from inside the box after running in to a good position to connect to a Miheso cross.
Immediately, AFC boss Cassa Mbungo made changes, Dennis Sikhayi coming off for Boniface Mukhekhe while Hansel Ochieng went out for Vincent Oburu.
The game suffered a six minute stoppage after a section of AFC supporters started throwing projectiles into the pitch, complaining of a handball inside the box that was not penalized by referee Badir Yassin.
But when the game resumed, it was business as usual for the reigning Kenyan Premier League champions.
K’Ogalo would continue their upward trajectory as Miheso made it 3-0 with a long range effort off a clinical counter attacking show by the champions, AFC left dazed and out of sorts.
AFC gave themselves some hope with Ndikumana’s long range effort three minutes later, but they were sunk deeper into oblivion with Juma scoring the fourth with a simple finished unmarked inside the box off a Boniface Omondi cross, the winger having just come on for Kenneth Muguna.