Champions Gor Mahia open a five-point gap

By Washington Onyango: Tuesday, April 2nd 2019 at 00:45 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia's Nicholas Kipkirui (Green) and Kariobangi Sharks' Tom Teka struggle to contain a ball during a match at Moi Stadium In Kisumu.Gor won 2-1. (Standard)

Relentless Gor Mahia claimed their fourth consecutive SportPesa Premier League win, beating Nzoia Sugar 2-1 to take a five-point lead at the top of the table.

The reigning champions were, however, made to work unusually hard for their victory by a dogged and determined Nzoia side having made to rally from behind to win the match.

Hassan Oktay’s side came into the game on the back of three consecutive premier league wins, and despite playing their second game in just two days, they gave their lakeside fans something to cheer — not quite finding top form, yet doing enough.

Speaking after the game, Oktay said he was not satisfied with the performance of his team blaming injuries and fatigue with the team’s congested fixtures of playing three games in six days.

“We didn’t utilise our chances well, but again we have played many games in the last one week and some of my key players are tired and injured. I am happy we got the three points,” Oktay said.

Nevertheless, the coach said the congested schedule will not hamper their continental ambitions over the weekend when they host RS Berkane of Morocco in the Caf Confederation quarterfinals on Sunday.

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“We are ready for Caf despite the schedule of the local games. We have been rotating our squad and most of the players will be fit for Sunday duel against Berkane,” he added.

Hansel Ochieng gave the visitors the lead after just three minutes, scoring from the spot after he was brought down by Wellington Ochieng in the penalty box.

However, the hosts rallied and had chances to equalise and in the sixth minute, captain Dennis Oliech combined with George Odhiambo before finding Francis  Mistafa unmarked at the centre of the box who pulled Gor level.

That equaliser jolted K’Ogalo into life. They came out searching for the second goal with added impetus and Nzoia stopper Humphrey Katasi was forced to make several saves.

Former Harambee Stars striker Oliech could have put the champions ahead in the 15th minute after being released by Mustafa, but the finisher failed to beat Katasi in a one on one situation.

Katasi was again called to action four minutes later, stopping both Wellington Ochieng and Oliech strikes.

Oktay then made a first-half double change bringing in Shafik Batambuze and Lawrence Juma for  Bernard Ondiek and Cercily Okeyo in attempts to take the lead before the break but Nzoia stood tall.

In the second half, K’Ogalo turned on the style to seal the victory five minutes from time after a set piece was headed in by Geoffrey Ochieng following numerous failed attempts by Oliech, Sammy Onyango and Batambuze.

The win puts Gor Mahia at the helm of the premier league with 41 points, five ahead of Sofapaka in second. The champions will face Sony Sugar tomorrow.

 

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