Gor Mahia stumble in Algeria with heavy defeat to host USM Algier

By Gilbert Wandera: Tuesday, September 17th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia’s Lawrence Juma (centre) is tackled by Hamza Hitimana of Aigle Noir from Burundi during their CAF Champions League at Kasarani on August 25. [Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com]

Gor Mahia’s poor away record in continental football continues to haunt the club after they went down 4-1 to USM Algier of Algeria in their first round CAF Champions League match on Sunday night.

The team faces a daunting task to turn around the result in the return match in a bid to make it to the group stages of the tournament.

USM Algier got goals from Mohammed Mefta and Zakaria Bencha who scored a brace each. Keneth Muguna’s late penalty was the only consolation for the Gor Mahia.

Gor Mahia will now have to win by at least three clear goals to be sure of advancing to the group stages of the tournament something that has eluded them in the last two seasons.

It was not, however, a surprise result considering the team’s poor away record at this level since 2017.

In that year, they were held to a 1-1 tie by Vegetarianos of Equatorial Guinea in the preliminary round of the champions league and made it to the first round after a 2-0 win.

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The team then lost to Tunisian giants Esperance 1-0 away in the first round after holding the club to a barren draw in Machakos.  The result pushed them to Confederations Cup where they went past SuperSport United of South Africa despite losing 2-1 away and saw them qualify to the group stages of the CAF’s second-tier tournament for the first time.

The poor away record followed them into the group stages of the Confederations Cup as they failed to beat Rayon Sports and USM Algier of Algeria.

To their credit, they beat Tanzanian side Yanga home and away but it was not enough to send them to the semi-finals of the tournament which would have meant more money for Gor Mahia.

Last year, Gor Mahia needed post-match penalties to get past Nyasa Bullets in the preliminary rounds of the Champions League after the Malawian side had won 1-0 at home to send the match into extra time.

A 2-0 away loss to Lobi Stars put paid to Gor Mahia’s dreams of making it to the group stages of the tournament as they settled in the Confederations Cup and for the second time in a row made it to the group stages only but failed to go past the quarter-final.

Should they go past USM Algier which remains a big task, Gor Mahia will need to fix their away record something that looks to be related to their chaotic travel arrangements.

The team only travelled on Friday to Algiers after a lot of uncertainty during the week and this could have unsettled the players. The uncertainty over their travel arrangements has always followed them in their away matches and it is time the club fixed this problem once and for all.

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