Leopards eager to delay K’Ogalo’s inevitable record-extending run

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Friday, August 24th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
AFC Leopards fans against Gor Mahia during their Mashemeji Derby at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday 22/07/18[Boniface Okendo,Standard]

AFC Leopards captain Duncan Otieno is desperate to win Mashemeji derby and delay their rivals Gor Mahia’s inevitable coronation.

The two in-form fierce rivals collide at Kasarani tomorrow in a match that could earn, K’Ogalo, the run-away SportPesa Premier League leaders their unprecedented 17th title with six games to spare.

Gor go into the match on 68 points and a victory would take their tally to 71 points - a 23-point lead, which Bandari and AFC Leopards (48), who are jointly second on the log, would be mathematically unable to overhaul.

A draw would also guarantee Dylan Kerr’s men a back to back title depending on the result between Bandari and Nzoia Sugar in Mombasa.

Leopards are bidding for a second-place, which if achieved, would be an improvement on their eighth-place last year.

Both teams are coming off a four-game winning run.

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While Leopards have not lost since their 2-1 first leg derby loss, Gor have not lost since Bandari ended their unbeaten run (2-1) in Mombasa.

Leopards captain Otieno missed the first leg defeat, but is back to lead the onslaught against Gor’s eternal rivals and believes the responsibility to delay K’Ogalo’s coronation is squarely under their paws.

“It is a big match with a lot at stake.; the normal bragging rights and three points. The title is already gone and Gor Mahia just one match away from winning it, but we cannot allow them to win it with our match,” Otieno told The Standard Sports.

“Of course they are champions in waiting, but let them lift the title with another team, not Leopards.”

The defensive midfielder believes the domestic Cup champions can secure second place if they avoid defeat tomorrow.

“We must remain focused and continue with our winning run because Bandari and Sofapaka are still in the top two finish mix. Bandari have had a good run lately,” said Otieno.

Having missed the first leg due to suspension, Otieno is looking forward to guiding his side to victory.

“ Although I missed the first match, the boys gave their best; contained Gor Mahia, created several scoring chances, but gifted them very easy goals,” he added.

“But we all know, football is not a one-man game. We have to work as a team tomorrow (Saturday). We have prepared well, everybody is in high spirits and ready to go.”

Leopards will have to do without the services of suspended striker Ezekiel Odera and attacking midfielder Marvin Omondi after suffering an injury during training.