Mashemeji derby: Players observe a minute of silence in memory of Mama Oliech as Gor Mahia beat AFC Leopards
Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia on Sunday defeated AFC Leopards 2-1 in the 85th Mashemeji Derby hosted at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.
George 'Blackberry' Odhiambo delivered Gor Mahia's match winner over AFC Leopards yesterday as the first leg of the Mashemeji derby lived up to the biling.
Odhiambo volleyed home Francis Kahata's delivery from the right flank in the 57th minute to secure a 2-1 victory for the record Kenyan champions at a half-packed Kasarani Stadium.
The win saw Gor move 12 points clear at the top of the SportPesa Premier League table with three games in hand.
Save for an off-field incident from a section of angry Gor fans in the 77th minute, the impressive turn out, the dizzying speed and dazzling quality on the pitch made the derby eye-catching.
Prior to kick-off, the players observed one minute of silence in memory of the death of Mary Ouma, the mother to former Harambee Stars captain Dennis Oliech.
"It is a massive win and a massive three points. It was a tough game and the quality was fantastic," said a delighted Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr.
"But by winning it, we have shut all the people's mouths. Yes, they will say AFC Leopards didn't come to the party, but I don't understand why clubs in Kenya raise up their game when they play Gor Mahia."
His AFC Leopards counterpart Radolfo Zapata was gracious in the defeat.
"It was a tough game and I am proud of my players, they tried. I can't talk about my future right now. The team is on the right track," said Zapata.
Rival fans were caught up in excitement throughout the match thanks to the conducive atmosphere, chiding at each other as they performed the famous Mexican wave with every goal.
And as the two teams engaged in a grueling battle on the pitch, chants, dances and noises kept the derby alive.
Gor were the first to have a real chance in the 18th minute when Harun Shakava's glancing header went over the bar after a slow start from both teams.
In the 21st minute, Jacques Tuyisenge broke the deadlock when he capitalised on Salim Abdalla's defensive error to beat the onrushing goalkeeper Ezekiel Owade.
Abdalla made the error, misjudging the weight of a back pass to his goalkeeper.
Tuyisenge, who was lurking on the edge of the penalty area, sniffed the opportunity, composed himself and buried the ball into the net to the delight of K'Ogalo fans.
Two minutes later, Marvin Nabwire had chance to draw level but the youngster's overhead kick didn't trouble Gor goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch before Humphrey Mieno shot feebly straight at the keeper on the opposite end.
Ephrem Guikan could have doubled the lead on the half hour mark but indecision cost him before Abdalla made a brilliant tackle to deny the Ivorian another scoring opportunity.
Leopards were awarded a free-kick at a promising position on the stroke of halftime, but Oluoch pulled off a fine save.
And after a series of raids, leopards were rewarded right on the stroke of halftime when Whvonne Isuza volleyed home Dennis Sikhayi's pinpointed cross, leaving Oluoch rooted.
Guikan shrugged off a challenge from his marker, turned left but his effort sailed over the bar two minutes after restart.
Gor then earned a corner kick with Francis Kahata pouncing on a loose ball in the 54th minute to set up George Odhiambo on the blindside. The experienced winger made no mistake with a volley.
Isaac Oduro, Salim Abdalla (Cpt), Michael Kibwage, Tsuma Said, Edward Seda (Eugene Mukangula), Marvin Nabwire (Alex Orotomal) Jaffari Odeny (Vincent Oburu), Whyvonne Isuza, Ezekiel Odera
Unused Subs: Jairus Adira, Yusuf Mainge, Victor Majid, Victor Mavisi
Gor Mahia: Boniface Oluoch (GK), Joachim Oluoch, Godfrey Walusimbi, Joash Onyango, Harun Shakava, Humphrey Mieno, Innocent Wafula, Francis Kahata (Cercidy Okeyo), Jacques Tuyisenge (Francis Mustafa), George Odhiambo, Ephrem Guikan (Samuel Onyango)
Unused Subs: Shaban Odhoji, Wesley Onguso, Charles Momanyi, Bernard Ondiek
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