English Championship side defeats K’Ogalo in post-match penalties
FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | May 14th 2018
Kasarani Stadium came alive yesterday when Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia entertained English Championship side Hull City.
Granted, K'Ogalo lost 4-3 through post-match penalties after a barren draw in regular time of the friendly match, but that did not dampen the spirit of thousands that made their way to the 60,000-seater stadium on Thika Road.
The fans came in droves led by Opposition chief Raila Odinga, and senators Kipchumba Murkomen, Cleophas Malala and Johnstone Sakaja. This was not going to be an ordinary match.
The enthusiastic crowd rekindled the sweet memories of the 1997 World Cup qualifier match when Kenya's Harambee Stars held the Super Eagles of Nigeria to a 1-1 draw.
But after the penalties, Robbie McKenzie's sudden-death kick after Cercidy Okeyo's miss left the home fans somewhat disappointed.
Gor, who were using the fixture as part of their preparations ahead of Wednesday's CAF Confederations Group D second tie against visiting USM Algers of Algeria, were the better side on the ball.
They created numerous chances, but profligacy upfront cost them.
Goalkeeper Bonface Oluoch saved three penalties to put K'Ogalo in the driving seat during the shoot-outs, only for Okeyo to miss his effort and grant the Tigers victory through McKenzie.
Meddie Kagere, Jacques Tuyisenge and Samuel Onyango scored Gor's three penalties. Okeyo, Wesley Onguso and Kevin Omondi missed.
Oluoch saved the kicks by Jarrod Bowen, Thomas Powell and Branjon Fleming's but Jon Toral, Kevin Stewart, William Chadwick and McKenzie's efforts gave Nigel Adkins' men a positive start into their pre-season.
Although Hull coach Adkins was impressed with his boys' performance, he admitted that Gor Mahia were equal to the task.
"As expected, there was great spirit and atmosphere, both inside and outside the stadium. I believe there were still many fans outside the stadium," he said.
"Both teams played well and for me, football is the winner. The altitude and temperature were a big challenge for us, but I am proud of my players. Great experience and great talent from Gor Mahia. You could see their players' athleticism and willingness to do well. They have a bright future."
"They played like real Kenyan champions; that's why any side could have won the game. It was a great exposure for Gor."
Gor started off the brighter side, dominating possession in the opening 15 minutes of the game, but they couldn't break the deadlock.
Francis Kahata could have put Gor ahead in the 34th minute but his free-kick bounced off the crossbar before Tuyisenge wasted another chance.
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Dwight Gayle and two goals for Ayoze Perez piled ever more pressure on Chelsea boss Antonio Conte just six days ahead of what could be the Italian's final game in charge in the FA Cup final against Manchester United.
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England manager Gareth Southgate will name his World Cup squad later this week, and there was plenty of encouragement for Southgate as his three of his strikers were on target.
Marcus Rashford scored his first goal since March for United's winner, whilst Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane both struck twice at Wembley as Tottenham came from 3-1 down to beat Leicester 5-4 and hold off Liverpool to finish third.
Kane cancelled out Vardy's early opener before Riyad Mahrez restored Leicester's lead and Kelechi Iheanacho's smashed home a third for the visitors early in the second-half.
Erik Lamela scored twice and saw another effort deflect in off Christian Fuchs for an own goal to put Spurs in front before Vardy levelled with his 20th league goal of the campaign.
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