NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – New signing Juma Balinya proved his money’s worth in his home debut for record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, striking twice as K’Ogalo thrashed Nzoia Sugar 3-0 to open up a four point gap on top of the Kenyan premier League standings.
Second placed Kakamega Homeboyz was held to a 1-1 draw by Wazito FC in Kakamega, a result that saw them move just a point up.
Meanwhile, Kariobangi Sharks rose back from the dead to annihilate Kisumu All Stars 8-1 and move to 12th in the standings.
In Nakuru, new signing Elvis Rupia shushed his doubters with a goal in added time as AFC leopards beat 10-man Ulinzi Stars 1-0 at the Afraha Stadium.
In Machakos, Gor were in complete control against Nzoia from the first whistle. Clifton Miheso came close in the 16th minute when his shot from the edge of the box came against the upright with the keeper assuming it was rolling wide.
Samuel Onyango also had an opportunity but his header from a Miheso cross was well saved by the keeper.
They however got the break three minutes to the break when Balinya, signed in the January window after leaving Tanzanian side Yanga reacted fastest when keeper Mangala spilled a shot from Onyango.
In the second half Nzoia had very good chances to score but couldn’t finish. Just 50 seconds in, Felicien Okanda was sent through on goal but his shot was timid, keeper David Mapigano collecting easy.
In the 57th minute, a freekick from the left fell kindly on Kevin Juma at the backpost, but he failed to guide it into the net with the goalmouth at his mercy.
They were punished for those two glaring misses in quick succession.
Balinya scored his second of the afternoon in the 63rd minute when Samuel Onyango cut back the ball for him after being sent through with a worldie of a through pass.
Three minutes later, it was 3-0 when Muguna once again pounced on a spilled ball from keeper Mangala who let a Miheso shot bounce off his chest and kindly into the Gor skipper’s path.
Muguna should have added his brace minutes later but his pile diver from distance was palmed away for a corner by the keeper.
Gor looked in control and eased up. With 10 minutes left, Edwin Lavatsa who made a deadline day move to Gor, returning after seven years was handed a cameo, but the result remained the same.
In Nakuru, Rupia made the most of a goalmouth melee to nudge home in added time as Leopards kept their winning run intact. Ulinzi had been reduced to 10 men after Boniface Onyango was sent off for a second bookable offense.
Rupia had been a threat from the first minute and even forced Ulinzi keeper James Saruni to a one on one save in the first half, showing that he was up to task in replacing John Mark Makwatta who has moved to Zesco United.
Oscar Wamalwa who was returning to the Ulinzi Starting 11 after missing last weekend’s match at Tusker on suspension was a tightly marked man as he couldn’t do much damage.
Wazito meanwhile also had to do with a stoppage time goal to earn a 1-1 draw in Kakamega, ending a disastrous six-match losing streak.
Derrick Otanga scored an added time penalty to cancel out Chris Masinza’s early goal as coach Stewart John Hall picked up his first point since taking charge of the team.
Elsewhere at the Kasarani Stadium, Sharks responded after losing back to back games to thrash All Stars for eight with Ugandan winger Peter Lwasa scoring a brace.
An own goal added on to goals from defender John Kuol, John Mazembe, Patrick Otieno, Kevintom Machika and Patillah Omoto as Sharks moved further away from the red zone.
All Stars meanwhile remain 16th in the standings with just a paltry eight points off two wins and two draws in 19 games and looked well on course for relegation.