Gor Mahia clash with Aigle Noir in decisive Champions League tie at Kasarani

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Sunday, August 25th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia's Kenneth Muguna (L) and Samuel Onyango(R) tackle Brian Otieno of Bandari during their Super Cup match at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on 18/08/19. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia hope to join Bandari in the first round of the CAF competitions when they host Burundi's Aigle Noir in a return leg match of the Champions League at Kasarani Stadium today at 4pm.

The dockers pulled a surprise when they qualified to the next round of the Confederation Cup, thanks to an away goal rule after frustrating Sudanese side Al Ahly Shandy to a 1-1 draw in a tough encounter in Khartoum on Friday night.

Having shared the spoils in a barren draw a fortnight ago in Nairobi, Bandari needed either scoring draw or a win of any kind away to progress to the next stage.

But Bernard Mwalala side was lucky enough with the game going to their script, thanks to a 27th minute own goal from a Shandy defender while trying to clear Collins Agade's effort.

Yasir Mozamil drew level a few minutes into the second half but that could not stop the domestic cup winners from securing a first round ticket. Bandari will meet the winners between Tunisian side US Ben Guerdane and South Sudan’s Amarat United in the next stage.

Just like Bandari, Gor Mahia will have to produce some magic at Kasarani today to book a date with either cash-strapped USM Algiers of Algeria or Nigeria's SONIDEP in the next round.

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Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack against Bandari during their Super Cup match at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on 18/08/19. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

K'Ogalo, who were held to a barren draw in first leg tie in Bujumbura two weeks ago, have their work cut out as they must beat the Black Eagles to sail through. A scoring draw or a defeat of any margin will see Gor eliminated.

But having overcome Bandari 1-0 to lift their sixth KPL Super Cup trophy last weekend, head coach Steve Polack is confident of guiding Gor into the next round of the continental competition.

Though the British-Finnish coach has been boosted by the return of midfielder Ernest Wendo from suspension, he will once again have to do without the services of several key players due to various reasons.

The new signings in Kenyan international Clifton Miheso, Ivorian Gislein Yikpe and Ghanaian Francis Afriyie are still ineligible for the match while veteran striker Dennis Oliech and Philemon Otieno are yet to recover from injuries.

"The Super Cup win was a great motivation for the boys. That result was very important for us as we prepare for this big game against Aigle Noir. We've had a few training sessions with the team and the attitude is perfect," said Polack.

"I know it will not be an easy game on Sunday (today). Noir are very aggressive and they will definitely try to make it difficult for us, but we are well prepared and ready to give our best.

"My mission here is to win the league and other cups as well as guiding the team to the Champions League group stages. We just need to be at our best and score goals, nothing else. I expect the boys to do that."

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