MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 24 – Experienced shot-stopper Boniface Oluoch made an instant impact on his return after pulling great saves including saving a penalty to ensure Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia whip hosts Bandari 2-0 in a match played at the Mbaraki Sports Club on Sunday.
Samuel Onyango opened the scoring on the stroke of half time before Francis Afririe sealed the win with a solo effort two minutes into the second half.
Oluoch, who had lost his starting role to Tanzania’s David Mapigano was the difference between the two sides, culminating it with a double save from a William Wadri penalty in the 66th minute.
The result saw the record 18-time KPL champions, who have two games at hand, remain at the summit of the standings on 24 points, three ahead of Tusker FC while Bandari, last year’s runners-up slumped to 12th on 12 points.
Bandari head coach Bernard Mwalala, who has now gone four straight matches without a win bashed his defenders for conceding easy goals.
“We have been leaking in defence and in the last six games our defenders have been poor, they have been doing blunders and that’s what they repeated today. Gor punished us because of out defensive errors. We missed a lot of chances, so we have to option but to step up. I congratulate Gor for the win,” Mwalala said after the match.
“In the mid-season transfer window, I have to reinforce the squad, I have already I identified good players and we ae in talks with them. We (Bandari), Tusker, AFC Leopards, KCB and other big teams are giving Gor Mahia an easy ride to win the league, we should ask ourselves what we are doing… if Gor who have problems outside the pitch can come in the pitch and beat us ,” Mwalala added.
His corresponding Gor Mahia coach, Steven Polack was beamed with happiness, hailing his players for showing a character of a champion.
“The players have really showed commitment outside the filed, I am really proud of their attitude, its long time since Gor won here in Mombasa, we have done it and I am happy. It’s a long way to go so a lot of points to be played for, we take a game at a time and we can only get better,” Polack stated.
Gor were the better side in the first half, managing to produce five shots on goal against Bandari’s three.
K’Ogalo could have broken the deadlock in the 22nd minute when deadly Ivorian striker Gnamien Yikpe brought in a fine cross from the right flank for Afirie to head it to winger Cliffton Miheso, who did well to shoot but was denied by Bandari keeper Michael Wanyika, who did well to come off the line and clear the ball for unfruitful corner.
On the other end, Oluoch was up to task as he punched away Wadri’s thunderbolt that had come from Yema Mwamba’s cross from the left wing in the 35th minute.
Ten minutes later, it was Gor who were celebrating after Onyango put them ahead in the 45th minute when Yikpe intercepted the ball in the midfield to set-up Onyango who did well to control the ball and find space to unleash the cracker that bounced off Wanyika to the back of the net.
On resumption, Gor disorganized Bandari’s plans when they found the back of the net for the second goal jut two minutes after half time thanks to Afirie’s individual brilliance that left the Bandari defence in tatters.
Afririe picked the ball from Wadri’s miss pass in the midfield to weave past Bandari players before smashing the ball home at the top far corner.
In the 68th minute, Gor conceded a penalty, giving Bandari an opportunity to pull one back but it was not the case to be as Oluoch showed who he is made of after diving the right direction to parry Wadri’s kick before reflexing to punch away the rebound for a fruitless corner.
Gor went on to hold on the win and keep the clean sheet are maintain their status at the top of the league.
-KPL Results Sunday-
Bandari 0- 2 Gor Mahia
Ulinzi Stars 1 – 1 Nzoia Sugar
Chemelil 1 – 4 Mathare Utd.
Posta Rangers 0 – 1 Tusker