All even in top 8 as all semi-finalists, Tusker, Gor, Sofapaka and Sony set up tantalizing return leg clashes in KPL knockout tourney

Gor VS Tusker TUSKER VS GOAR Abodo Ali of Goarmahia dribbles past Tusker on 17-10-2015 during the match at Afraha stadium in Nakuru PHOTO:BONIFACE THUKU

Leonard Odipo got off to a fairly positive start as Tusker interim coach after the defending Kenyan Premier League Top 8 champions rallied from two goals down to a draw 2-2, with Gor Mahia in their first leg semifinal match, at the Afraha Stadium, yesterday.

Ali Abondo and Meddie Kagere scored a goal apiece in the first half for the 14 time Kenyan Champions, but the brewers responded with Jesse Were and Eugene Asike’s goals to set up another mouth-watering return leg.

The match started on a high tempo with Kagere seeing his first minute attempt going over the bar before K’Ogalo survived an early scare after the brewers’ spot kick appeal was waved away following Harun Shakava’s handball in the box.

Tusker had a chance to take the lead in the tenth minute, but Were missed a sitter from Noah Wafula’s cross. Two minutes later, they paid the price when Abondo’s deflected shot easily beat goalkeeper Martin Musalia.

Tusker responded immediately, but Gor custodian Jerim Onyango did well to stop Were’s ferocious shot before saving Kevin Kimani’s free kick on the half hour mark. Michael Olunga could have doubled the lead in the 32nd minute, but good defensive display from Lloyd Wahome denied him the scoring opportunity.

A few minutes later, Kagere made it 2-0 from the spot after Wahome fouled his former Tusker teammate Abondo in the box.

With five minutes to the break, Kimani could have pulled a goal back for the Ruaraka-based outfit, but his effort hit the crossbar. On resumption, the brewers came out a more resurgent side piling pressure on Gor’s back four. And in the 53rd minute, their efforts were rewarded thanks to Were’s expertly curved shot.

In the 84th minute, Kagere could have scored his second goal but the Rwandese hitman was denied by the crossbar before Asike's last gasp header gave Odipo a warm welcome.

In an earlier match at the same venue, Sony Sugar and Sofapaka shared the spoils after their first leg of the KPL Top 8 semifinal also ended in a 2-2 draw.

The four goals were all scored in an electrifying first half. The millers took an early lead through Byron Odiaga’s strike in the ninth minute from a corner kick before Sofapaka custodian David Okello pulled a fine save from Edwin Oduor’s attempt.

A few moments later, Okello was called to action again stopping Marwa Chamberi’s powerful shot. However,on the half hour mark Ekaliana Ndolo headed home to move level before Sony keeper Allan Owiny made a double save to deny Heritier Luvualu and Mbakiye Miami respectively.

Sony regained the lead before half time, through Victor Ademba’s header. However, their celebrations were short-lived as dead ball specialist Collins Shivachi unleashed his trademark free kick at the edge of the box to cancel out Ademba’s goal.

Shivachi’s brilliant goal came barely three days after the right back salvaged a point for Batoto Ba Mungu in a similar fashion in midweek’s league match against AFC Leopards.

“I feel great to have scored my second goal from a set piece in two games, but it is more exciting because it put us back in the game. We are looking forward to a positive return leg,” Shivachi said.

By virtue of being away teams, both Gor Mahia and Sony hold a slim advantage ahead of the return leg on November 4th.

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