Gor Mahia coach Oktay reveals why they were beaten by Morocco's RS Berkane
Gor Mahia have a mountain to climb after falling 2-0 to Morocco's RS Berkane in Sunday's first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup quarterfinal match at the Kasarani Stadium.
The North Africans capitalised on K'Ogalo's defensive errors with Issoufou Dayo and Bakre El Helali scoring a goal each to give the visitors a comfortable lead into next week's second leg in Morocco.
But with no doubt, the suspension of captain Harun Shakava, Shafik Batambuze, Jacques Tuyisenge and Ernest Wendo together with their head coach Hassan Oktay coupled by the players' strike two days before the game finally came to haunt K'Ogalo.
"Of course the absence of our key players affected the team. It's difficult to work without such experienced and quality players and that's where I believe we lost the game," said a disappointed Oktay.
"Players' strikes before such big games make my job difficult. These players need to be motivated. We need to put our house in order and solve all issues surrounding the players. This is the game that we should have won very easily.
"It's not over yet. In football everything is possible. The excitement has now started, we will go there and fight for the win."
Although his counterpart Mounir Jaouani was thrilled with the win, he urged his charges to finish off the job in Morocco.
"It was not an easy game. Gor Mahia has won all their home matches, but I'm proud of my players for their impressive performance. We still have a game to go," said Jaouani.
From the onset, nothing seemed to work for the record Kenyan champions. And after 23 minutes Berkane broke the deadlock when an unmarked Issoufou Dayo headed home Omar Namsaoui free-kick following Geoffrey Ochieng's foul.
Two minutes later, Boniface Omondi's effort was deflected for a corner before Charles Momanyi skied his shot after latching on a loose ball in the box.
Francis Kahata nearly drew level on the half-hour mark, but his shot was tipped over the bar by Berkane goalkeeper Ayoub Lakred before Boniface Omondi was denied by the post.
Momanyi then forced a fine save from the keeper as Gor piled more pressure on the visitors' defense seeking an equaliser.
Samir Ouidare could have doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime but his glancing header went wide before Boniface Omondi's effort went wide on the opposite side.
Bakre El Helali then capitalised on defensive lapse to put the final nail in Gor's casket, twelve minutes into the second half.
Moments later a fan invaded the pitch forcing the referee to temporarily stop the game as he was whisked away by the stewards.
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